Friday, January 29, 2010

Like I Needed Another Project....

I saw this adorable Valentine garland on a sweet blog yesterday, and i must say, i am in need of some Valentine decorations this cute! Oh, but for the time....

Something i could get done......
  • while and i argue over when her schoolwork should be completed. Hmm, probably not.
  • while we're listening to the week's homily. Hmmmm.

I wonder if you can train yourself to crochet in your sleep? Hmmmmm.


I am finding that pattern with it's trc's extrememly disappointing...not because there is anything wrong with the pattern, but because i can't seem to perform trc's. :o) So here are some other sites i am finding useful...

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Spring?? Is That Really You?

The Lenten Rose,climbing rose,



& tulips
all seem to think Spring has arrived.
Boy, i hope they are right & the farmer's almanac is wrong!!
I've been suffering from a sore throat and bed resting the past day. Thankfully i have a silly 7 y/o who has kept my spirits up by renaming our cat to "Mrs. Smee" so that when the cat is about doing naughty things, the Cookie Monster and stand over said cat with her hands on her hips and say, "What are you doooing, Mrs. Smee?" Just like Capt. Hook would do. :O)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

The Quilting Rookie, Eps 2

When we embarked on C.m.'s quilt project, Mom had me pick out a pattern. I found this cute one, that is from a tablecloth project. I love it, but i am not certain it is going to work for the fabrics i have.
The fabrics look really cute together like this.

However, i can't seem to get cuteness to translate when i have to lay them out like this.

Help, Mudder!
I'm thinking that they would look better if maybe i ditched the tablecloth pattern and used triangle piecework instead. I'll keep playing, but just be warned, Mom....i'm getting a little frustrated. :o)

Monday, January 25, 2010

Home Decorating Quiries: Exteriour Lighting

We are still in the process of updating and flashifyin' the old abode.

Last night was miserable...the kind of evening where you realise your whole weekend was wasted in terms of your plans to acquire and redo things in your home. So, when i get antsy like that, a trip to the hardware store helps.

I went looking for a closet system for Cookie Monster's room, since we couldn't find a bed for her this weekend. Yet, i returned with light fixtures for the exteriour of our home. Woot!

They're things that have always needed repair, and we've just never gotten around to, except when the earthquake in 2001, a couple days after we returned from our honeymoon, knocked out our old fixture near the front door. :o) We replaced it with something cheap from the local stop and shop out of sheer desparation because we couldn't afford much more back then.

Last night's score was made possible by the local Big Box hardware stores "clearance" sale.

Here's my plan:

Since our handles on our doors and windows are rubbed oil bronze, i stuck with the rubbed oil bronze looking fixtures. You can see in the photo below we have retro looking diamond patterns in our door windows,

so i was glad to have found something last night that highlighted those crazy diamond shapes. We have one for our front door and one for the utility door in the carport.

Won't it look a whole lot groovier than this sad little thing there now?? At least it will match the house anyway!

Now for the dilemma...on the deck. We've always had this ugly old fixture here, that is controlled by a light switch that actually controls lights in two completely separate areas. So to turn this "swell" fixture here by the deck door on and off, you have to actually screw or unscrew the light bulbs from their sockets. Well, what can i you know one of the reasons why i want to move so badly. :o) As you know, it's not very safe to unscrew a 100w bulb from a light socket after it's been on for more than about, oh, 10 seconds, and likewise it's not safe to turn the light switch off, as it controls our flood lights on the side of the house that illuminates the long driveway and also alert us in the night if someone is in the yard as it is attached to a motion sensor. Brilliant, eh? It's almost like connecting the wiring for your refrigeratour's plug to your kitchen light switch. :o)
So i came up with a couple of motion sensor lamps, but i need to decide which would be better looking/more efficient. Should we go "matchy-mathcy" and use a smaller, thinner lamp that has the same design as the other lamps (even though our deck doors don't have those diamond patterns in them)?

Or do you do something totally wild and crazy and use a big round lamp like this...that may infact emit more light?
Here's a better view of the deck door.

and the side of the house with the deck.

What do you think? I guess i'm not completely caring, because the best part about it is that when i'm the one out on the deck late at night in the summer, i will still have my fingerprints right where they are supposed to be when i come back inside the house. :O)

I am just going to have to focus on my little slice of Spring on the deck and wonder about which light fixture would look nice out there. :o) And i'd love some of your imput too.

State of The Homeschooling Address

Wow! Is January really almost over already?!? Whoa!

You know what that means: time to audit the books.

And what i've found is that we need a whole new approach to the science and spelling areas. We also need to spend a few days "catching up" here and there. We aren't as bad off as before, but we are definitely in need of an extra lesson or two a day for a couple weeks to get ourselves ahead again.

November had 17 possible school days, December had 20 and January has had 12, as we took a long Winter Break. All totalled from the beginning of our "year", we've had 72 opportunities for a school day. So here's how it's looking:

Math: Lsn 51 (we spent 2 hours on Monday finishing four lessons...hopefully we can get more of that done during this week.)


  • We've ditched the reading guide because it was too babyish and i am currently investigating an alternative that is a phonics and spelling program rolled into one.
  • We've also taken on a new approach to the spelling workbook. Instead of making finish on the list work in the book, i have her focus on writing paragraphs about the theme of the lesson. She i have her do an enrichment exercise making sentences for five words from the spelling list. Today, while administering the spelling quiz, i was met with's skill and wit--when i asked her to spell words like sea, meet, real, & week they were met with the questions, "What kind of..... Do you mean sea like 'i see a cat' or do you mean the ocean? Do you mean reel, like an Irish dance or do you mean it like a fishing reel or do you mean it like 'is that real food?'" Smart-alec kids these days! :o) That being said, she is already in the second book of the series and on lesson 11 out of 35. Our cirriculum says that she should finish the 7th book by 4th grade. I think that won't be a problem.
  • For her grammar, we've been continuing in First Reading Lessons and she is humming right along with 58 lessons completed (more than have way done with 1st grade grammar.)

History is atrocious. We've only progressed 8 lessons. We're working on that this week.

Science is also abominable, so we are working on reworking it. This picking up books at the library every week is getting old...especially because we would rather not leave the house in favour of staying home to work on school and projects. So, i will try scheduling a science reading day once a month to work on reading about animals, but then would rather get her fired up about basic chemistry experiments and she's dying to learn about the human body other days of the month. During Spring, i'd like her to study plants. I think i am going to try a different approach to science and just work on a different unit of study once a month.

Religious Ed: December about killed us. We had 25 lessons requiring 15 minutes a day to keep up with. Needless to say, we opted for weekends, when Moose could be home to help with them. We managed to finish somehow, personally i believe it was a Christmas miracle, a now we have 30 new lessons to complete by Feb 3rd. Oy! I am not very pleased with this set of lessons, not only as the next class falls on our wedding anniversary, but because our parish has asked us to teach the kids about abortion this month. Now....really!?!? My child is 7. I could see teaching it to the 8th graders or the high schoolers, but my 1st grader?? One of the reasons we took her out of public school is because of the things she would learn there that would not keep her a child for much longer--one being AIDS education in kindergarten. :o\

The lesson was debated between Moose and i, but i firmly believe that there is another appropriate time to teach my child about abortion...especially when she doesn't even know how babies are made yet. She asked once when she was 5, but i gave her a simple beginning and end story. I wasn't about to tell a 5 year old that you insert tab A into slot B and yada yada yada...10 months later, boom, you have a baby. I told her that making babies was like a recipe--the mommies have the eggs and the daddies have another ingredient and when the ingredients are mixed together, poof, you get a baby. I am certainly not looking to explain this any further until she's needs to learn about the changes her body will be going through. And sensoring the process required to make a baby but not sensoring abortion didn't seem right. Like putting the cart before the horse, so to speak. Moose has a different experience though, coming from a strong, Catholic family where they were told at an early age that abortion is just plain criminal--and that i won't deny. I respect that, but i fear that if we were to tell C.m. about certain people willing to kill a child, she is still young enough that she would be horrified. I could hear her asking anytime she'd see someone pregnant whether they were going to kill their baby. I just don't think she needs to know this yet. She needs to be a kid while she can...and i remind her of this when she asks to watch more teenage appropriate programming, or when she wants to wear make up like Momma to ordinary everyday church or when she talks about being older and married and having kids. Right now, she needs to focus on book learnin', silly songs like "I Always Wished That I Could Be A Cubby", and playing with dolls....cause much too soon, she'll be a pre-teen and it will be time to introduce her to the cold, ugly, cruel world that she'll all too soon after that be an adult in. Sheesh!

One thing is for certain, we've learned a lot about the homeschooling process this year!

Friday, January 22, 2010


Moose did a great job remodelling the coop this weekend! And he says he has no skills...he's an engineer for cryin' out loud!! He's one of those gents that a wife can give a list of wishes to, and he tries to make it work. That he did with the chicken coop!

I think i've posted pictures of our coop here before. On the left is the hardwared fenced screened run. The hardsided building is the coop, left door is the coop door, right is the shed to keep chicken feed and all the nonsense you need to clean and feed and our handy dandy chicken care instructions for our gracious friends who don't mind looking after the girls while we take a little vacation.
On the wall where the broom is, that is where our nesting boxes were located, along with one roost along two walls. And that was the reason for the remodel. The girls were pretty cramped on the old roost, and with some missing feathers here and there, we figured it couldn't be a bad idea to give the girls a little more elbow room.

Moose designed the remodel to include nesting boxes that would be easier to access. Score!!
This is the area of the coop where the old nesting boxes were. This is the area behind the closet. Now the girls can climb up into the rafters practically!!

Here are the new nesting boxes... from the inside,
and from the outside!

And Moose said he isn't a handyman. Shhhhhaaaaw, right.
Even two of the girls are using the boxes he made with his own to bear paws!

So just when he's feeling all is right with world and he's a total rockstar, especially because now it's easier for Cookie Monster to collect eggs and we won't be inside disturbing the girls when we do it, but you know what those stinky chicas did?
See that nesting box on the right side of the photo below, inside the run, that looks like it has a ladder growing out of the top of it?

Moose painstakingly assembled that for the Aunties when we adopted last year's chicks, so they would have a warm, safe, and private place to lay the eggs.
Well, some of the girls apparently didn't get the eviction notice...

Grrr! Proving once again that we still need a little more schoolin' before we can be smarter than your average chicken! Must be all those omega 3s they get from eating all the grass
at chicken recess.

Inspiration, the Finale

Now, here's the real eye candy!! Pictures from the garden in July 09.

This is the entrance to the garden, complete with working fountain.
They've planted trees around the arbour, so i am wondering if they are borrowing an idea from Sharon Lovejoy and going to make an arbour of apple trees?! That would be beautiful!

Can you believe how much they fit into this garden??
This picture is only an eighth of the area!!

I absolutely love how they snaked the onions through the lettuces. That is a fantastic idea and a good solution to my 100 onion problem!

The corn was amazing too...they had corn well before we did and it was at least 7 feet tall (here C.m. was just under 4 ft tall.)

The sweet peas and garlic,

the fruit trees--deeeeeVINE!

Here are the handicap-accessible garden boxes.
tucked in closely to the parking lot and main path of the garden for ease of use. I love it!!

The contraptions at this place completely fascinate me too,
(although, i could do without the neon green.) :o)

I have no idea how tall these stakes are for the tomato plants, but they were easily 7-8 feet.
They are even easier than the tomato cages i use. It didn't look like they pinched the suckers either, they just tied all the new shoots to the pole with twine.

These are the cherry tomatoes.

Then these handy supports!! The design is so versitile.
Here they are erected over the blueberry bushes and covered with netting.

Here they are covered with a netting to provide a trellis for the cukes grown underneath.
Here the squash planted to crawl up them will provide a shade for the cool season plants in the middle of the bed.
Here's another look at that bed above.

One thing about the success of the garden--there were bees buzzing everywhere around here. And they weren't just bumblebees like we have, they were honey bees.
When we got to the back of the garden, we found out why.
They also have to bee hives, which i am completely envious of.
One is named Tigger, the other Pooh, and yes, inbetween them that is infact a
topiary-in-the-making of Pooh Bear!
Oh, if only to have an acre or two to call my own....
Hopefully this will provide some inspiration or at least some peace to the dreary days of us gardeners who are anxiously awaiting the arrival of the last frost!!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Inspiration, Pt. 2

The Seniour Centre Gardens were designs just last year with the help of many community donations and volunteers. The man behind the effort had just opened up his small wholesale nursery to the public a couple years ago. It's a magical place, and so is this garden.

As the story goes, he and his wife travel aboard to visit gardens. They fell in love with this one from England, i believe. Below is a picture of the garden that was the inspiration for the design of the Seniour Centre garden.
Who couldn't love that, eh?
Below is a mock up of their design plan. I've deconstructed the plan into quarters below--

Here is the top 1/4th, containing an apiary,

the left 1/4, beside these beds are the spigot, the cold frames, and the greenhouse.
Interesting to note too, are the neon green coloured boxes in the grey coloured area of the design--these denote the garden beds raised up to the height of 3-4 feet, so that people with walkers, canes, or wheelchairs, too may also come out and tend to and seek a sample of the garden. It also provided a great way to keep slugs out of the strawberries!

This is the right 1/4 of the garden.
In the grey coloured area to the right is the communications board, where lists of things to do is ever changing, as people visit and water or weed. The businesses that donated to the garden have teams that come out to do this work. Also boy scout troops and private schools and groups donated hours planting, weeding, and harvesting. Each bed (green coloured shape) is the responsibility of a group. That way, the garden stays looking nice all summer as many hands make light the work, eh?
This is the bottom 1/ are located the compost bins and the handy sink i am infatuated with.

And this handy dandy was a great idea to put this in the garden!

Tomorrow, i shall be back with more pictures of what the garden grows.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010


We visited a few community gardens last year, and one i saved back to provide a little inspiration to us gardeners that don't deal with dormancy well. It's a little eye candy for us this time of year to get the ol' juices flowin' again and console the weepy green thumb.
So over the next few days, i'll be posting pictures of some of the things i found interesting about this garden that was planted near us at the FW Seniour Center, providing veggies for the seniour lunches there. These are the structures. I love the idea of the sink...i will have to plan one of those when we get our farm.