Monday, August 22, 2011

Sunday Stills :: The Letter B

Over at Sunday Stills this week, our challenge was to find and photograph something beginning with the letter "B".

If catagorizing this under "Beauty" doesn't work.....

thankfully there are a few boats in there. :)

Visit Sunday Stills for more photos of "B" things.

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Letter J

jig - i can dance it.  For a little while i studied Irish dancing.  It's very confusing to me...something that needs to be a sole focus for me to really grasp.  Unfortunately....    It is a ton of fun though and a great workout!

jovial - usually, particularly when we have quiet days that don't require us to do anything but enjoy each other's company.

jammer - i looooove making jam!

Jennifer - my real name, however since there are sooooooo many of us i usually never answer when called by it, which annoys my friends to no end.  Why you may ask?  In college, someone thought they'd be funny and put practically every Jennifer on campus on one dorm floor.  Out of 24ish girls, we had 17 Jennifers living all in the same space.  Hence why, i'm Whit. :)  P.S.  Hi MacD!! (yup, another Jennifer.) :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

The Letter I

introverted  - i am a little shy around new situations or people in general.  sadly, people usually mistake introverts for snobs or goody-two-shoes. 

indebted - to many people for their love and care, especially my parents.

Irish  - red hair, blue eyes, infectious laugh and quick wit....yup, i'm Irish alright. :)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Letter H

hairdresser - recently started giving Moose his haircuts.  Now if only i could convince him to pay me. :)

Hallowe'en - my favourite holiday!!

hamburgers - one of my favourite foods, piled with carmelised onions, whole grain mustard, a juicy tomato and cheese...mmmm...can't beat that.

house - hunting - something i am going very weary of!

Doin' the Jig in Gig

Thanks, Pop, for that catchy little saying...

It's what we've been doing all week so far.  Cookie has an Irish dancing camp in a spot on the WA peninsula called Gig Harbor.  There will be plenty of photos to share coming up. 

I had to show you this one though.  It's simply unbelievable the people you'll run into in Gig.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

A Wonderful WA Weekend

Hi!  How was your weekend?  I hope it was as amazing as ours.

Moose's childhood friend brought his family up for a vacation and made contact. 
We hosted a little gathering on Friday evening--it was wonderful--kids running around, old friends reminiscing, and new friends being discovered....

Toward the end of the evening, plans were being made to get together the following day.
A trip to Mt. Rainier!!  Woot!

Moose's friend, A, his wife and child met us the following morning at our place.  We ventured from there up Hwy 410 to the side of Mt. Rainier known as Sunrise.  After our picnic lunch, A's wife picked the perfect hike:  Sunrise Nature Trail, a 1.5mi relatively flat trail that gives you a great view of the mountain and surrounding terrain.

Glimpse of what lies ahead

At Mt. R, many of the trees grow wonky due to low oxygen levels at such high altitude.
Moose thinks they look like Dr. Seuss trees. :)

The Adventurers

After our hike, we headed down into a little town Moose and i are currently in love with, had dinner, and we attended a little community production of Wizard of Oz.

All in all, it was a perfect day.

Saturday, August 13, 2011

State of the Homeschool Address :: Year 3

With such a busy summer this year, school prep was squeezed in when i could.  After some work this week (thanks Mom, for enduring hours of "Felt World" play with Cookie over the cell phone!), i am happy to report that we have a plan. 

Not that i am certain of how our daily routines are going to go, but we at least have a scope and sequence!!  How we are going to fit it in, well....that is to be determined.

2011 - 2012 Subjects (aka Appeasing the State of Washington Re: Their "11 Required Subjects" ):

Math, Grammar, Writing, Spelling, Reading, Chemistry, History, Latin, Art/Art History, Music, Irish Dancing, Swimming, and Religious Ed.

Okay, okay, that's not eleven.  So there's two more thrown in for good measure. :)

The lowdown:

Math - we will be finishing up Saxon 3 from last year.  We made it all the way through to Lsn 117 before i went off on my tangent on loosening up the homeschool scheduled scene around here.  Especially because really, how do you make it relevant to an 8 year old that they need to master Pre-Algebra theories now, because someday they will need them.  Truthfully, the Saxon 5/4 book is scaring me.  Not wanting to put pressure on my wee Cookie, i want her to play with the new skills she's just acquired through multipication tables and such.  Since she is a year ahead anyway, i am going to present math more as a puzzle now.  I really like the Saxon program, but we need to approach it more as a puzzle/game than a "lesson of the day".  That way, hopefully it will be more like the approach to good lit...introduce the little brains to bits of the bigger ideas now and later they will be comfortable with the process when more may be required.  And once we are finished with the text, we'll be delving into living math texts like Math on the Menu, where students help figure out the costs of starting and maintaining a restaurant business, and Checkbook Math, and starting our own little math curriculum here with our finances--maybe grocery math at first.  Toward next spring, we'll start easing our way into Saxon 5/4--maybe after our annual testing.

Grammar - we'll be continuing with Jessie Wise's First Language Lessons for the third grade this year.  We like the scripted lessons that we can both read together--little bits of learning at a time--with sweet poems for Cookie to memorise sprinkled inbetween.  And this year we start diagramming sentences; something i am sorry to say was not a part of my elementary curriculum.  We'll both be learning something new this year.

Writing - now that Cookie enjoys writing, we're going to hit the dictation hard and heavy.  Writing With Ease is another book by the Wise family--Jessie's daughter Susan Wise Bauer.  In it, she reinforces grammar basics through classic literature.

Spelling - we are taking some time off of Spell to Read and Write and going back to Spelling Workout.  Spell to Read and Write is a good program, however we are getting bored with it because even their "fun" exercises are hard work for us.  So, since Cookie likes crosswords and cursive now, she wanted to try Spelling Workout again.

Reading - we're still working through our Shakespeare and Canterbury Tales; King Arthur and all that. 

Chemistry - Cookie can't wait to get started on Chemistry.  She loves learning these magic tricks. :)
During the year we'll also get into some geology...we found a great rock hound curriculum that goes into chemical make up of rocks. 

History - We're still working our way through the Middle Ages.  Around March 2012, we'll enter into the Early Modern Times (1600 - 1850's).

Latin - we are starting with Prima Latina this year.  Cookie's really excited about this.  It will be interesting to see how it helps her with English and when we learn another language later down the road.

Art/Art History - we will continue reading about our favourite artists; books like Chasing Vermeer and such.  We have been toying with chalks and oil pastels.  We'll need to do more drawing this year.  Our goals are also to visit the art museums two times and attend three children's theatre productions:  Frog and Toad, Harold and the Purple Crayon, and Robin Hood. 

Music - with all the Irish dancing, Cookie is learning timing.  The piano we've kinda falling off of, but i figure we can listen to classical music in the car to and from classes. :)

Irish Dancing -  this summer, Cookie solidified her standing as Novice in her softshoe dances.  She started dancing in hardshoe numbers too.  She'll have classes twice a week again, hoping to get ready to compete in another feis or two in October.

Swimming - we'll be starting again soon.

Religious Ed - the last two years were grueling, completing over 200 lessons written by our deacon at our church.  Cookie aced the test for First Communion.  Now, the deacon would like the kids to come back to live out their faith.  It sounds like we'll be doing more hands on project to give to the community this year.  Should be great!

We officially start in a couple weeks.  We are going to finish up a few loose ends on vacation (constellations--because where we'll be we can actually see them.)  :)  Wish us luck! :)

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Garden Look-See (picture heavy!!)

I was able to get some photos of the garden last night, while letting the ladies wander around our yard.  Our neighbour, we thinks, is building a fence out of pallets (waah!), and we've seen the dog a little less.  Maybe i am just getting to lazy again, but my gals love to forage too much for me not to give them a little time out of the confines of a tractor or coop.

carrot seeds!!

 I am a little disappointed with the boysenberries.  The ripe ones are extremely sour, which would explain why the birds haven't eaten them before we had a chance to try them.  The rest of this year, i am going to focus on improving this area (aka more coop litter and compost are headed this way) to see if we can improve soil conditions enough to improve these tasty jewels. :)  Especially because these are in a sloped part of our yard, where maybe the drainage is "too good". :)

The summer is still cool.  I think we made it out of the seventy's for a whole 3 or 4 days.  But nothing hot enough to tame the rhubarb or the peas, like usual summers around here.

We've been able to grow one head of cauliflower this summer too.  Out of twelve plants. :(  More research is needed.  :)  Maybe start instituting foliar feedings?

 Thankfully our squash is taking off.  Three zuccs and a yellow squash already, then these to go.  Maybe enough to make a ratatouille this weekend?!?

One experiment that turned out lovely this year was my edgings.  I read about potagers half way through the growing season and fell in love with the clean look of edged gardens.  Regardless of how garden beds ringed in boxwood makes me swoon, the last thing we need around here is more blasted hedges to maintain.

So i used a mix of radish and carrot seeds to outline the corn bed.  Radish is especially advantageous, because they sprout in like, a day.  Therefore, little people will not inadvertently step in a bed because they will see something is there.  :)  The carrots i knew we'd have use for, but the radishes...well, i hadn't ever had any luck with them because you have to keep them so moist.  This year in the PNW however...  Lo! and behold, Cookie the Veggie Hater discovered that she loves radishes.  The French way, of course, sliced, on bread with a shmear of butter.  My kid's eatin' veg...hallelujah!

black cherry toms
 Something on the horizon that is not peachy is the fact that Mother Nature seems to think it is September already.  The last few mornings, we've been waking to marine layers that block out the sun until lunchtime and last night they returned by dinner.  Ugh!  I hope we get some more tomatoes that these this year.  Next year, we will have to do something drastic about the tomato growing around here.  Either we need a small, portable greenhouse, or only plant early fruiting varieties. 

sauce toms

green beans, fall chard, and scallions

Onions are ready to harvest.  I may have planted a few too closely this year, so i'll be cooking those up this week for our hamburgers.  There are quite a few out there though that are the size of the one in the lower left of the picture.  Maybe i can try a braid!!

It sure will be nice to have a bigger place someday to grow all these things.  Won't have to feel like i need to squeeze it all in. ;)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Wait!! This Week Wasn't Supposed to be Busy!

Proving once again that it helps when i "X" out dates on the calendar...
These last two weeks were supposed to be our "at-home" vacation.  Nothing to do.  No dance classes.  No school.  No dates.  We were going to leisurely pack for vacation, pack up some boxes to get us closer to moving, bake, do crafts, visit with our friends, and have fun. 

Well, the realisation that we will have obligations over the next four weeks has hit like a ton of bricks.  That means we need to cram in family time, as Cookie and i will be leaving Moose alone for a week.  And we needed to visit the zoo before the Scoop on Poop exhibit goes away (gross sounding, i know, but it was very educational!)  Loose ends of school need to be tidied up before Cookie leaves for Grands Camp. :)  Today, our favourite kindie band is playing downtown, so we have no excuse not to grab Moose from his office and head off for a free concert and picnic in the park. 

Ei yi ei!
Thankfully i have the silly Cookie to keep me in good spirits
And tomorrow is free for all the "leisurely packing".  Sheesh!

The Letter G

* gift of gab * - see Blarney Stone; it's a fine line between this and being a gasbag.

* gardener *  - i think i've always been one.  My parent's used to have a small garden when i was growing up in AZ.  We have okra, peppers, and tomatoes.  Citrus trees.  My mom planted flowers by the gazillions.  And dad planted a few pine trees.  Once i moved out on my own, i tried my hand a container gardening in my apartments and such.  Now i'm branching out into trying to grow year-round.

* geek * - i was a bit geeky before it was cool to be one. :)

* German * - my second language...

* godmother * - to one sweet and cuddly little boy who is a hoot and a half!

* gloomy * - with the steady downward spiral of culture and decency in our area, my gloomy meter is off the charts.  It's a bit more than a downer now to see new bikini baristas opening in our area, read of more women panhandling themselves about a mile from neighbourhood (even the university athletes alledgedly get in on the action), and last but not least, i'm sure, the lastest in gang turf wars  in our neighbourhood.  The handwriting has been on the wall for a long time, i suppose.  No one wants these activities in their city, but instead of pushing them out for another city to handle, i wonder why no one is willing to help these individuals?!?  And with that realisation, that makes me even more sad.

* gullible * - true confessions:  in high school once, friends in class were foaming at the mouth with ideas about things.  Somehow, the subject was raised that i was gullible and all eyes were fixed on me for my reaction.  Not knowing what that was, i gave a non-chalant "thank you".  Unfortunately, that solidified the label, i suppose. :) 
What G words describe you?

The Letter F

* faithful * - once a friend always a friend. 

* family * - is very important to me.  It's the most important thing in this world.

* freckles * - i am covered with tons of them.  Fingers crossed that i don't have to have very many more carved out. :)

* fishwife * - sadly, i am a bit of this once in a while.  it's a trait i need to work on.

* farm * - someday, somewhere--hoping one is in my future (sooner than later.)

what words that start with F describe you?

Monday, August 8, 2011

Letter E

* epicure * - i love finding new foods and new recipes.  cooking is so much fun!

* eccentric & eclectic * - sometimes i surprise people with my quirky disposition

* effervescent * - when i am relaxed and refreshed from a vacation or visit with my parents

* Eucharist * - He fulfills me and restores my weary soul

* etiquette * - maybe because in my old age i am becoming a curmudgeon, however i am getting to be a real stickler for etiquette in these last few years...and not this West Coast nonsense that passes for manners.  I'm talking good ol' traditional stuff:  saying hello when you make eye contact with someone, humility, politeness, aware of your surroundings.  And one of my numero uno's:  for the love of all that is good and holy, pleeeease wear clothes that cover yourself and your under-thingies!

Letter D

* daughter * - i have one and i am one.

* desert rat * -  i grew up in the Sonoran Desert of Arizona.  but i am recovering.  :)

* decade * - we've been married a few months over a decade now.

* desparate * - we are going mad around here trying to find a little house in the country to move to.  to have some peace and quiet will be balm to our minds and souls.  and my kid will be able to play outside on her own without worrying about the neighbour's dog.

* didgeridoo * - not because i play it; simply because it's a fantastic word! :)

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Today is Brought to You by the Letter ... C

Cows, crocodiles, cats & chickens
 * chicken keeper * - i love those crazy biddies.  They are such fun and rewarding pets. 

* cat lover * - i also love felines of any kind.  They are so playful.  Our current cat is Sandwich.  She is a lil' lover of a cat...sleeps all night curled up in the nape of my neck.  Unless it is hot.  Thank goodness! 

* copper * - my favourite colour.  My dad also used to be a copper miner, so i have to give props to the industry that helped him provide for his family, eh? :)  It's also the colour of my hair.

* curvaceous * - with every passing month, i am becoming more curvaceous, thanks to changes in my eating behaviours.

* Catholic * - i converted to Catholicism ten years ago.

What "C" words describe you??

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Today is Brought to You by the Letter.....B

Words that describe me that start with B are:

* baker * - over the past year or so, i've really been going gangbuster with the baking skills.  I've learned to make puff pastry, a decent pie dough, and numerous other delights in the form of cakes or cookies.  Motivation?  It helps not only to be a dessert-a-holic, but also on your church's Funeral Ministry when they call you looking for food contributions for the receptions.  That way, you can count on baking once every couple weeks, but not have to incur the calories. :)

* belly laugh * - one of my favourite things to share with loved ones in the whole wide world.

* boisterous * - noise, lively, high-spirited...on my good days.

* bibliophile * - a book collector, especially when it comes to old cookbooks.

* Blarney Stone * - my gift of gab came from here...supposedly when i kissed it on our Honeymoon. :)

* Beerleg * - the best "B" word of all is Beerleg.  He was a fabled rattlesnake that my dad and i made up one day during conversation years and years ago.  We can't really remember why (damn the family forgetfulness trait!!), however we do remember we laughed until we cried over him.  I even drew a picture of him.  If i can find it while i'm cleaning up around here, i'll update this post with a picture.

What "B" words describe you best??

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Alphabet in August

Alphabet in August
photo by Susy Morris of Chiot's Run
 If you have not dicsovered Chiot's Run, grab your elevenses and have a look-see.  You will be awestruck with Susy's breathtaking photography, simplicity, and gardening inspiration. 

This month, she is playing a little game called Alphabet in August, where if you care to join along, you will think of words inspired by the letter of the day that describe you and share them with the audience.  It's one of those "Get to Know You" sorta deals.  And you don't have to have a blog to join--you can visit Susy's posts and leave your contributions in the comments.  (Also a good idea to comment there to let her and the rest of us know you are participating in the fun.)

Cookie's Drawing: Alpaca, albatross, and alligator

Today is brought to you by the letter "A".  Which could be many things for me--good and bad. :)

* acerbic * - thanks to my medical training and lack of patience most days, i tend to have an acerbic attitude.  Especially when trying to get things done by others who don't accomplish the task the same way i would.  It's not a trait i'm proud of....

* adept * - not that things come easy to me, but i do like to learn many skills (that most consider hobbies) and become as adept at them as i can.  someday i hope to acclaim that i am an adept sock knitter, quilt maker, and seamstress.

* adroit * - clever or skillful.  That's me.  After my second cup of coffee when i've have a day by myself to think. :)

* affable * - when i am at my best, i am very good natured and friendly.  Something that is very easily stifled in this big city of ours.

* American * - something that is becoming more and more uncomfortable for me to admit.  However, all current political theatre aside, there is a lot of inspiration to be had from the early Americans and their vision to build this country (the way they envisioned with many diverse ideas co-existing in a big ol' melting pot o' goodness and decency) and the era of the Conservation Corps and FDR.  If only we could find more people distracted less with their ridiculously lavish lifestyles, mistresses, corporate interests, and re-election and more in touch with the concepts of how to restore prosperity to our neighbours and regain a sustainable vision for our country.

What words that begin with "A" describe you best?

Monday, August 1, 2011

Back to Our Regularly Scheduled Summer


The last couple weeks have been a whirlwind of activity.  All fun stuff though.  My parentals brought their friends from Brazil to meet us and see some of the sites of the Seattle-Tacoma area.  Three days to see the zoo and the Boeing Museum and shop in Costco and the big American Mall here. 

Makes you glad you aren't an international tourist this year, eh?  :)

Sharing some pictures of our adventures with you (we'll spare you the mall pictures--hee hee) and then we'll be back to our regularly spontaneous activities around here. :)

Cookie and her new friend