Friday, February 29, 2008

Celebrate

Project 2008 Continues:





I DID IT!

Halfway through this month I thought there was no way that I was going to finish my end-of-the-year paperwork. It just wasn't going to happen. I was determined to give it my best shot, though (thanks to the accountability of declaring it on my blog...). Here it is February 29th, and I'm DONE! Ahhhh. That feels so good. Like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. I am ecstatic that I can now relax and enjoy the rest of the short winter and spring as it arrives.


I haven't finished The Total Money Makeover by Dave Ramsey, but I've got a great start and plan on finishing it this next week. Then it will be on Russ's reading pile for a week or so. I'll be keeping better track of our spending in March and maybe April so that I can come up with a realistic and workable budget. Things aren't at a breaking point around here, but I sure would like to be more deliberate and responsible about our spending, saving, investing, giving, and record keeping.

For anyone interesting in learning a little more about Dave Ramsey's Money Makeover, Simple Mom is doing a series on her blog to review the methods spelled out in his book.

Thursday, February 28, 2008

Lyrical Earth Science

Mama Archer is holding a homeschool giveaway. The prize is Lyrical Earth Science from Lyrical Learning. I would absolutely love to use this program for our earth science studies next year! The boys and I love using CDs for learning and enjoyment. I think this program would fit right in.


Check out Mama Archer's blog for rules and details on entering the contest.

From Jest to Earnest

From Jest to Earnest by E. P. Roe, published in 1875.

According to this website, E. P. Roe was the most popular American novelist during his time. His books outsold those of Mark Twain! (The full text of From Jest to Earnest is available online at the above link!)

From Jest to Earnest is a delightfully innocent romance from a decidedly theological vantage point. It reminds me of an American version of George Macdonald's romance stories (set in Scotland), particularly The Curate's Awakening.

This story is made particularly charming and meaningful to me knowing that my great-grandfather, the poor preacher, gave this book to the elegant and rich daughter of his employer before eventually eloping with her. What a fun parallel story in itself!



pg. 16

She was the beginning of several desirable things, but the pattern was in no instance finished, and was always ravelling out on one side or the other. She had the features of a pretty girl, but ill health and the absence of a pleasing expression spoiled them. She had a fine education, but did not know what to do with it; considerable talent, but no energy; too much conscience, as she had not the resolution to obey it. Her life was passed mainly in easy chairs, chronic dyspepsia, and feeble protest against herself and all the world.

pg. 156

To a certain extent, God gives to the prayerful control of Himself, as it were, and becomes their willing agent; and when all mysteries shall be solved, and the record of all lives be truthfully revealed, it will probably be seen that not those who astonished the world with their own powers, but those who quietly, through prayer, used God's power, were the ones who made the world move forward.

pg. 168

"Men would be better--I should be better--if all young ladies showed your spirit, Miss Martell."

At the next pause in the dance she said, in a low tone, "Come, let us have no 'ifs.' Be better anyway."

pg. 240

When we receive our slight cuts and bruises through life, there are usually outcry and abundant sympathy. But when we receive our deep wounds, that leave scars, often only God knows; and it is best so, for He can heal, but the world can only probe.

pg. 350

Perhaps more distress is caused by those troubles which never come, but which are feared and worried over, than by those which do come, teaching us, often, patience and faith.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Show and Tell

I love seeing your projects and designs and faces! Check out these candles created by reader-friend, Caralyn: She and her daughter decorated these candles for a bridal shower. I love how they turned out. And look how gorgeous she is (with her adorable little guy):
I would love to post more links and pictures. Keep them coming!

Monday, February 25, 2008

The Idea File

I was perusing my 'idea file' when I saw a picture of a small terracotta pot, planted with grass, used on dining table as a place card. On a metal plant marker in the pot of grass was written the name of the guest. This is a clever and fresh idea for a spring party, Easter dinner, perhaps. I get many of my ideas from catalogs, magazines, online, or decorating books, but I like to tweak them a bit. How about party favors? Or Easter gifts for family and friends?

The metal plant marker gave me an idea. I wanted a way to visually display my One Little Word, but hadn't thought of anything just right. Potential suddenly seemed to radiate from my little pots of grass. The new, green life. I ended up with this:

So, for our Project Heidi: Decorating 101 assignment today, I want each of you to start your own idea file. It doesn't have to be anything fancy. A manila envelope. Whatever. I purchased this little file for 99 cents at Staples the other day:


Whenever you have some time, go through any catalogs or magazines lying (laying? that one always trips me up) about your home. When you see something (it can be an add for baking soda for all I care...) that jumps out at you, cut it out and put it in your idea file. It is okay if you don't know why you like it, or what you will do with it. I'll give you specific ways to use your file in future lessons. But they won't work if you don't have anything in your file!


Pottery Barn catalogs seem to work really well for me, because the pictures show fully decorated rooms, creative displays, and great color schemes, rather than small pictures of merchandise only. And they are free.

This idea file is also a good place to store a thin spiral notebook for writing down decorating and design tips such as the Rule of Three.

The simple candles that I embellished (here and here) also came from my idea file. See, you need to get yours started!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

True Love

Love involves a peculiar, unfathomable combination of
understanding and misunderstanding.
~Diane Arbus, photographer


Thanks, dear, for being my everything. And being willing to both understand and misunderstand me. It has been a wonderful 12 years. Happy Anniversary!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

And the Winner Is...

Leif was eager to help with my ultra-technical, completely fair, scientific method of choosing a winner for the first ever Mt. Hope Chronicles contest.
Look at that expression! He knows we have a winner:

And the winner is:

Anne from Palm Tree Pundit!

Congratulations, Anne! Considering the number of books you read, I'm sure you'll have a swell time using your $25 Amazon gift certificate. Happy spending!

Leif and I both wish we had unlimited resources and could send each and every one of you an Amazon gift certificate.

Thank you so much for your comments, lovely compliments, and feedback. You are all appreciated!!

Brave New World

Brave New World by Aldous Huxley.

My first impulse after reading this book was reactionary. I wanted to wake up my children from their sound sleep, cuddle with them, read them wonderful stories from living books, and bring them beautiful flowers to smell and admire. Secondly, I wanted to go off the grid. At least I could shun all television, video games, and rock music. Instead, I will be passionate about the classical education I am sharing with my children.

A few pages into Brave New World, I was unsure if I would be able to finish it. I am incredibly sensitive to mistreatment of babies and children. The conditioning of the babies was really tough for me to read. But it was short, the book moved on, and I found myself interested in the story, asking questions, thinking deep thoughts, coming up with new ideas, and wondering 'what if.' In that respect, I call this book a success and am glad I picked it.

The repeated use of Ford (as in Henry Ford) and the 'T' symbol replacing God and the cross came across as a bit comical. In many ways it lightened the atmosphere for me. I much preferred reading Ford as a swear word rather than repeated instances of God's name used in vain.

Although I loved to read books, I made it through my childhood (and teenage years) without reading futuristic, utopic, or dystopic novels. In less than two years I've read The Giver, Fahrenheit 451, 1984, Ender's Game, Gathering Blue, and Brave New World.

The Giver was the first. I couldn't put it down. For me, it was the perfect introduction. I've placed this book in my top 10, not because it is one of the 10 best books ever written, but because of the new direction it took my thoughts. The way it changed me at that certain point in my life.

I chose to read Fahrenheit 451 next. It was the perfect step up. Disturbing, but fascinating and thought-provoking. It found its way to my top 50.

I moved on to 1984. Disturbing isn't the word. I almost didn't make it through that one. The utter absence of hope took my breath away. It is by far my least favorite of the group, and the one that I wouldn't recommend. One thought returned peace to my life after finishing the last page: my previous pastor's favorite words in the Bible, "But, God." That is exactly what made 1984 impossible to me. God will always exist. There will always be hope. In current and historical unimaginable horrors and oppressions, God has always been there giving hope to the hopeless. Against all odds, that seems to be when His light shines the brightest.

Ender's Game was absolutely fascinating. I could not put it down. I was breathless and exhausted by the end. What a ride. Another book for my top 50.

I thought I would move on to Gathering Blue, the second book in Lois Lowry's trilogy. I enjoyed it, but preferred The Giver.

Brave New World was somewhat of a random choice. I wanted to read a few modern novels again this year. I can't handle a steady diet of them, but want to stretch the borders of my comfort zone a bit. I read The Catcher in the Rye last year. Any suggestions for my next attempt? I have Messenger (the third in Lois Lowry's trilogy) on my list as well as Animal Farm.

I'll leave you with a few favorite quotes from Brave New World:


pg. 41

He waved his hand; and it was as though, with an invisible feather whisk, he had brushed away a little dust, and the dust was Harappa, was Ur of the Chaldees; some spider-webs, and they were Thebes and Babylon and Cnossos and Mycenae. Whisk. Whisk--and where was Odysseus, where was Job, where were Jupiter and Gotama and Jesus? Whisk--and those specks of antique dirt called Athens and Rome, Jerusalem and the Middle Kingdom--all were gone. Whisk--the place where Italy had been was empty. Whisk, the cathedrals; whisk, whisk, King Lear and the Thoughts of Pascal. Whisk, Passion; whisk, Requiem; whisk, Symphony; whisk...


pg. 205

They seemed to have imagined that [scientific progress] could be allowed to go on indefinitely, regardless of everything else. Knowledge was the highest good, truth the supreme value; all the rest was secondary and subordinate. True, ideas were beginning to change even then. Our Ford himself did a great deal to shift the emphasis from truth and beauty to comfort and happiness. Mass production demanded the shift. Universal happiness keeps the wheels steadily turning; truth and beauty can't. And, of course, whenever the masses seized political power, then it was happiness rather than truth and beauty that mattered.


pg. 215

"... Regularly once a month. We flood the whole system with adrenin. It's the complete physiological equivalent of fear and rage. All the tonic effects of murdering Desdemona and being murdered by Othello, without any of the inconveniences."

"But I like the inconveniences."

"We don't," said the Controller. "We prefer to do things comfortably."

"But I don't want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin."

"In fact," said Mustapha Mond, "you're claiming the right to be unhappy."

"All right then," said the Savage defiantly, "I'm claiming the right to be unhappy."

Friday, February 22, 2008

Fine Art ABCs

I know that I have made this recommendation previously, but I am again reminded of this best-loved book. Museum ABC has been a favorite with all three of my boys. I don't know why they have all chosen a book of fine art and letters as their top pick for nap-time reading, especially at such young ages. Levi at age one as well as Leif currently. Luke loved it around age two and older.

The letters are bold and colorful, but simple and unadorned. The facing page features four pieces of art corresponding with the letter. B is for boat. Four pictures show boats of various styles. And so on.

Levi knew all his letters at age two. The letter sounds came much later, so I learned my lesson with Leif. Each time we read the book, I emphasize the letter sound rather than the letter name. It floors me how excited and emphatic he is about his letter sounds, but he chooses this book above all others.

With all the little boy-love this book has endured, it is starting to show great signs of wear and tear. But it is just a book. If it will help instill a love of letters and fine art, I won't mourn a few rips and wrinkles. We'll just buy a new one. This book is worth it.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

A Little Bit of Everything



What a surprise to find out that I am featured on Today's Creative Blog! I'm stunned. Oh, the pressure! I'll do my best to be worthy of the recommendation. It's just me. Trying to live up to my potential.

Thanks abundantly, Kim!


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I've posted new pictures over at Poet's Garden Girl. Wanna see?



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Have you seen the Valentine's that my friend, Carole, at Thoughts of Home created? Aren't they beautiful?

Kambria has chosen a spot for beauty. Have you?
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A big 'thank you' to Jennefer at Smooth Stones Academy for awarding me with the 'Blogging with a Purpose' award! I'm going to have to do a bit of checking into who has received the award and who has not.



Rules:
1. Awarded parties must nominate five people who have not received the award.
2. The blogs that receive the award must serve some purpose.
3. In their post about the award they need to link back to
this entry.
4. Awarded parties must post the award banner on their site. The banner must remain linked to this site.

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Kevin at Encyclopedia Kevinannica has tagged me with a 7 Facts About Me meme. I recently participated, but thought I could probably come up with 7 more.



1. Link to the person that tagged you, and post the rules on your blog.
2. Share 7 facts about yourself.
3. Tag 7 random people at the end of your post, and include links to their blogs.


So, in no particular order...


1. My father built a little log cabin for me and my sisters to use as a play house. We spent a large portion of our summers playing in and around the cabin. Many nights we slept in the loft.


2. I learned how to drive an old tractor at a very young age while my dad bucked hay onto a trailer. As soon as my little sister could drive, I was ‘promoted’ to help dad buck hay. My older sister and I then bucked hay every summer. I was a pro at backing a trailer loaded with hay into the barn.


3. I have never ridden an ATV, hang glider, snow mobile, or camel. I have been on a jet ski, riding lawn mower, and an elephant.


4. The most ridiculous TV show I’ve ever been addicted to: Renegade with Lorenzo Lamas.


5. (Because I have to copy Kevin:) Our boys all have L names with four letters (Levi, Luke, and Leif). Each of them was named after a president or statesman (Jefferson, Monroe, and Benjamin (Franklin)), a family member (Levi, Benjamin, and Monroe), and a person in the Bible (Levi, Luke, and Benjamin). I'll be in trouble if we have any more boys. Or girls, for that matter, but I would have loved to use the name Lucy-Collette Adelaide. Incidentally, I didn't originally intend to name all of my children using the same first initial.


6. When I was 17, my family took a 6-week driving tour of the U.S. in a motorhome. We visited at least 36 states.


7. If I could spend a day with anyone from the 20th century, I would choose C. S. Lewis.



If you would like to participate, consider yourself tagged!

Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Bragging on the Little Sister

I've talked about my little sister before. She puts on a great party. Birthdays, Christmas themed parties, you name it. But did you know that my sister is an amazing designer, crafter, gardener, wedding planner, flower designer, and shop owner? I could go on and on, but I'll save that for the day I blackmail her into appearing as a guest designer for Project Heidi.

Until then, I'll tease you with pictures I snapped while attending a paper crafting party in her home:









Tuesday, February 19, 2008

The Ancients

I cannot recommend The Story of the World highly enough. We look forward to history more than any other lessons or reading! The corresponding activity guide is a gem.

Archaeologists Dig for Clues (generous quantity of information packed inside a child-friendly picture book!):
Cave Painting:

Hieroglyphs (love the included stencil!):

Model of the Nile River:
Flooding the River Banks to Water the Crops:
Egyptian Gods and Goddesses (a level 2 easy reader!):

Egyptian Tatoos (from Dover):

Ancient Egypt Treasure Chest (a real treasure chest of crafts and activities, including the papyrus and hieroglyph stamps and Egyptian necklace shown below):

Hieroglyphs on Papyrus (The Boys' Names):
Cunieform on Clay (Levi's Name):
Hand-beading an Egyptian Necklace:

Just the tip of the iceberg!

Or would that be the tip of the pyramid...


The Great Sphinx
Giza Plateau, Cairo.
Khafre's pyramid in the background.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Sweet Pea ~A Year Older









My second post ever (exactly a year ago) was of 6 month old baby toes. Now my sweet pea is a year and a half. Someone, please invent a machine that stops time. I would pay a fortune for it.