Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Art Boards

Our "Art Boards" are saving my table.

These boards are underneath projects in several photos here, but I don't think I have ever mentioned them. I first got the idea for these boards from That Artist Woman. Then I casually mentioned them to my dad (who loves projects... and trips to Home Depot). Sure enough, the next time my parents visited he had a stack of them in the car for me.

The boards are made of masonite (think clipboard material). Home Depot and other such stores sell big sheets of it and will cut it for you (or your dad). I suggested duct tape for the rough edges, but dad sanded them... love him.

They are fabulous to have! These boards are perfect for sloppy projects that need a portable drying space (so we can eat dinner at the table). Great to take outside and sit in the grass and paint on. We will be using these boards for years!

Speaking of art projects, here are a few new fall projects we hope to do soon...

Monday, September 27, 2010

Immeasurable : 1000 Gifts

I could more easily contain Niagara Falls

in a tea cup that I can comprehend the
uncontainable love of God.

-Brennan Manning, The Ragamuffin Gospel

Days full to bursting keep coming. Racing through these past days, I cling to grace and delight in His countless gifts.

My list continues...

An afternoon at the nature center.

Friday night pizza with friends.

Dinner club on the porch.


Safe returns.

Homemade pie crust.


Fall blooms.


A dear friend that invited my children over for Saturday breakfast so that I could run.

A string of perfect September days.

A lazy Sunday afternoon watching the Redskins.

Treasures found.

Just sitting on the front steps.

Will's excitement to play football with the older boys.

Surprise parties.

Cold Gatorade.

"What can I do to help you, Mom?"

A big pot of soup.

New Lego sets... bought with his own money.

Playgrounds next to practice fields.

Local apples.

Celebrating my godson's 4th birthday.

The hymn And Can It Be

...the immeasurable riches of His grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. Ephesians 2:7

“Grace is the good pleasure of God that inclines Him to bestow benefits upon the undeserving. It is… a self-caused propensity to pity the wretched, spare the guilty, welcome the outcast, and bring into favor those who were before under just disapprobation. Its use to us sinful men is to save us and make us sit together in heavenly places to demonstrate to the ages the exceeding riches of God's kindness to us in Christ Jesus.”
-A.W. Tozer

holy experience

Friday, September 24, 2010


I'm training for my first Marathon.

Running has been a love of mine for many years. I have run in several 10-milers and half-marathons, always playing with the idea of training for the Marine Corps Marathon. For some reason, this year was the year to do it.

When I threw the idea at my husband several months ago, he was enthusiastic and encouraging. He knows running keeps me sane makes me happy... and having something that is not kid-homeschool-church related is an energizing outlet. He sweetly gave me a Garmin Forerunner for our anniversary. When Hannah asked what he had gotten me, I loved his response, "A big, ugly watch." He knew I would love it. I do.

And I have loved all those hours of quiet, Saturday mornings along the Potomac, watching the miles grow, and feeling stronger with each run. Tomorrow, our schedule has me running 19 between soccer games and after my husband gets back in town. These long training runs are getting harder to fit into our weekends... and just plain LONG. I'm also a bit tired of running before the sun is up during the week. But the end is in sight - only a little over a month to go!

I have loved (almost) every mile.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Maryland Science Center

Peter skipped preschool yesterday and we all headed up to Science Center in Baltimore.

The pulley chairs - Peter's favorite spot while Hannah and Will went to a few classes.

Learning about leverage...

Ice cream to end the day on Baltimore's Inner Harbor. I love field trips.

** If you are local, be sure to check Maryland Science Center's website in July for next September's homeschool specials. Admission is free for homeschoolers in September and classes and IMAX movies are $5 each. Register early - they fill up quickly. **

Friday, September 17, 2010


For an artful afternoon this week, Hannah and Will both really enjoyed this art project (Art Projects for Kids). Painting the rectangles first and then adding the details lent to a less exact/more free result.

My Girl

A couple nights ago, Hannah and I went to the mall for some much needed fall clothes. It was the first time just the two of us have been shopping for clothes together since she was in a stroller.

Full of energy, she was spinning and skipping through stores, dancing in dressing rooms, and telling me repeatedly, "This is so much fun! Just us!" Later she told my husband, "It was great! We talked about so many things." We really must get out - just us - more often.

Feeling the tug to be older, Hannah refused to get a kid's meal at Chick-fil-a and had definite opinions about clothes. The must have item of the night was at the Gap. A shirt that reads "Too Cool for School" - cracking up, she said, "This shirt is really for me!"

I love her laugh.

My girl, who wants to grow up to be a a writer and a professional soccer player, started writing a chapter book today. And this one will be published, she tells me. When she reads poetry aloud, she wants to be standing on a chair. She spends hours composing, painting, drawing, and creating an imaginary world all her own. I love her spunk, the way she gets lost in books, her desire to be sporty - not girly, and that sensitive heart.

Almost nine. Oh, how I wish I could freeze time.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Autumn Bouquet

Autumn is a second spring when every leaf is a flower.

- Albert Camus

He keeps a careful eye to find the first ones that fall.
Then gathered in bouquets, Will sweetly brings me autumn's first flowers.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Book Love

Just a few we are enjoying...

The Church History ABCs: Augustine and 25 Other Heroes of the Faith. Church history in nice sized bites.

Of course, this is the most important page in our house! My husband is wrapping up his PhD on the Covenant Theology of Zacharias Ursinus. Ursinus feels a little like a part of the family now. : )

The back pages give a bit more biographical information.

For our first composer study of the year we are reading this book. And loving it! Zeezok has several more titles in this Great Musicians series. Brahms is next for us.

During lunch, I have been reading Lois Burdett's A Midsummer Night's Dream while they eat. They are a captive audience and it cuts down on the silliness at the table. All three would beg me for just one more page. This series is just a lot of fun!

And for a good cuddle-up-before-bed book Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge is too sweet to miss. This little guy with a big heart and four names lives next door to an old peoples' home and adores the residents. Especially close to his heart is the woman who also has four names and has lost her memory. So, he sets off to find some for her.

It's out of print... we picked it up at the library.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Early Fall

Oh, how I love time of year! Sunny and 73 degrees.
Thankfully, lessons don't have to happen at a desk.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010


Just this morning as Hannah and I worked on her daily language lesson, she asked, "We will begin to memorize a new poem soon, right? You didn't forget about memorization?"

I hadn't forgotten, but we are still easing into our school routines. I mean it is only Day 6. But my young word-lover won't have this waiting. She loves to memorize scripture, poetry, quotes, lists of presidents, historical documents... it boggles my mind how easily it comes to her. I am quite jealous.

Then today, I see Simple Home School's most recent post: The Case for Memorization. Stefani said it all so well. Love it. A must read!

I was sure to grab The Harp and Laurel Wreath and my old copy of A Child's Garden of Verses before we headed out to Will's soccer practice late this afternoon. It's decided that tomorrow we will start memorizing My Shadow.

And as a strong and steady wind blew across the soccer field, words tucked away come back ...
And all around I heard you pass,
Like ladies' skirts across the grass -
O wind, a-blowing all day long,
O wind, that sings so loud a song!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Labor Day

Early yesterday, we decided to get a little out of town for the day. So, we phoned some good friends that live an hour north of here to ask if we could stop by and say hello on our way to a picnic/hike. They ended up joining us for the day. I love spontaneity! ... and yet I struggle with it so. : )

What an absolutely beautiful way to spend a Monday!

the view from the top of Sugarloaf Mountain

good friends
And poor Will scratching his face (as he did all day)...
I think he got into some poison ivy a few days ago.

Peter dreaming of the day he can do this...

and a perfect spot to rest

Monday, September 6, 2010

Clear Blue : 1000 Gifts

So very thankful.
My gift list grows...

Clear blue September sky.

Driving with the windows down.

Intricate spider webs in morning sun.

Order and routine.

College football's first weekend.

Safe arrivals.

The Mt. Vernon trail.

Opening the windows. Fresh air.

Soup and bread dinners.

Will's first 'real' soccer practice.

Being on a team.

Time for long Saturday morning runs.

Coming home to a find Saturday chores already finished.

Baking with Peter, my constant kitchen companion.

Candles at dinner.

Walking home from evening worship.

Cool, night air.

Monday holidays.


His always-patient, never-changing love.

So wide and long and high and deep.

holy experience

Friday, September 3, 2010

The Well-Planned Day

I just had to share that I have temporarily given up my beloved moleskine planner for The Well-Planned Day - a calendar/lesson plan book combo. And I am loving it. For the past two years of homeschooling, I have carried around two separate planners, so I was thrilled to find this! Sure, there are plenty of pages that I won't use/don't need, but I think it will serve me well this year. And it's well-designed and clip art free (I'm not a huge fan of apples and teddy bears, personally).

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A New Year

This week has been all about new books, new schedules, and getting back in the groove of school. Hannah and Will have been waking up early and diving in to their lessons before I am even back from my morning run. I know this won't last, but for now it sure is nice. I wish I could bottle up that energy and bring it out in February.

my first grader

and my third grader

Getting Peter to and from preschool has added an interesting twist to our days, but with a great carpool starting up next week, I will thankfully only be driving a few times each week. Peter is out the door by 8:00 everyday and that is our hopeful start time at home. It's quiet not having him around, but good. He is loving all the time he gets to play with little friends at school. And I love that he is creating and playing and having books read to him... something I was finding less and less time for here.

Hannah and Will's school days are very morning heavy, which gives us more time for afternoon activities with Peter. In attempt to have a regular rhythm to our weeks and to guard time for the things we love to do, I have created sort of themes for our free afternoons.

Tuesday afternoons are outdoor afternoons - a day where we can leave our city-crammed neighborhood and explore, hike, visit a farm, sketch in our nature journals, enjoy creation and some big open space. The kids were thrilled to hear about this plan, and now have a big incentive to be extra diligent on Tuesday mornings.

This past Tuesday afternoon was super hot and there was a "Code Red Air Quality Alert," so we stayed close to home and only spent about and hour hiking. We all gathered around an marveled at a huge patch of Jewelweed... so very appropriately named.

(I'm loving this new site I just discovered...
The Natural Capital: Getting outside, inside the beltway.

Wednesday afternoons are art afternoons. When we close our books for the day, we will pull out paper, paints, and pencils. I hope Hannah and I can spend some of those afternoons working on our scrapbooks (you know, the ones I was going to get so caught up on this summer). On those days I pray will be ok with the mess, ok with unfolded laundry, and sit down to create alongside them. I so miss having the time to do that.

Monday, Thursday, and Friday afternoons will be full of Latin classes, soccer practices, piano lessons, and year-round swimming.

So, off we go into another year of school...
clinging to God every. single. day.


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