Thursday, July 21, 2016

Field Day

We are so lucky to have so many great opportunities in our area for homeschoolers.  For instance, every summer a friend of mine organizes a Field Day for the homeschoolers, which is a rather large undertaking considering the number and varied ages of kids who attend!

This year, Peter and Gabe were not able to attend, but don't feel too badly for them because they were down in the Sunny South being spoiled rotten by their grandparents.

Ella, however, more than made up for their lack by being incredibly enthusiastic about, well, everything, ha ha!

Poor little thing.  I knew it was going to be hot and humid, so I dressed her accordingly. However, I unfortunately did not think to check if she was wearing appropriate undergarments.  Somehow she had put on her older sister's underwear, and every time she ran they started to slip down to her ankles.  It was so comical watching her run, curly hair and sparkler headband streaming in the wind, and one hand hiking up her errant undies!


 Bree also participated and did fairly well, but because I was in charge of watching Ella's group most of the day, I wasn't able to get many photos of her.  Plus, typical Bree, she tried squirming out of every picture I tried to capture of her!

Little Ella has her mother's speed, and didn't place in anything, but she was a trooper and never gave up, even though she was usually near the last of the pack.  She was completely and utterly thrilled to finally, finally get something that she can hang on the Wall of Awesomeness near her desk.  Never mind that it is a "only" participation award.

She earned it.

Monday, July 18, 2016

Another Musician in the Family

 One of the by-products of growing up in the home of a music teacher is that one does not have a choice in whether or not one will learn an instrument of some sort.  In Ella's case, she was completely and utterly . . .

. . . . thrilled.  I could teach her myself, of course, but instead I decided to give one of my students the opportunity (and extra practice) to learn how to teach.  Mr. Denver is doing a wonderful job, and Ella is loving her lessons.

Now if only I could get all my kids to practice with such enthusiasm!

Saturday, July 16, 2016

Happy Birthday Gabe!

Gabe's birthday is actually in May, but he did not get to have his party until this past week.

Originally, we were going to take him and his friends to Trampoline World, but an hour before his party started he got very sick so we had to cancel it. Needless to say, he was a very disappointed little 8 year old.

This time around, we decided to make the most use of our pool passes and have a pool party.

 I was a little worried how I would keep track of all the boys at the pool, but because it was overcast and cool, there was practically no one there.

Because the pool was so empty, when we left we were the only ones that had been in the pool. All the lifeguards were congregated in the main building and when Gabe walked out of the locker rooms everyone sang happy birthday to him. He was thrilled!

I wish I had taken more pictures of the way the kids and I decorated the birthday party room. We had streamers across the doors to look like seaweed and Bree did a beautiful job setting the table with an ocean theme.

I think he enjoyed his special day.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

A Very Happy Anniversary

 Handyman and I celebrated our 17th (what?!!!!!) wedding anniversary today.  To mark this event, we shamelessly utilized family and dear friends (the family is dear too, of course) to watch the four kids and the two of us retreated to Chicago for two days.

Our first outing was to the Chicago Botanic Garden.  It was a lovely place to visit, and the weather was fantastic; nice and warm without being too hot, which is a rare thing in July.

For dinner, Handyman found a lovely little micro-brew place in Gurnee where he happily tasted and slurped some beers.

It must have been in an upper-class section of town, because we saw more top-sider boat shoes and unfortunately colored salmon shorts with button-down, tucked-in cotton shirts than I have ever seen in one place.  Only the truly economically secure can get away with such awful taste in clothing.

The next day, we visited Navy Pier and took a sailing excursion on the Tall Ship Windy.

It was an hour-and-a-half foray along the Lake Michigan shoreline, and the guide on board had many interesting facts about some of the buildings that make up the beautiful Chicago skyline.

It was more crowded on board than we had anticipated, so walking around wasn't much of an option.  Still, the weather could not have been better and the view was excellent.

I even managed to fit in a few stitches . . .

 After walking around the city for awhile we settled on a lovely little cafe called Bijon for our anniversary dinner (and dessert!)

 It was right on the corner of "Honorary Carpenter" place, which we thought was a good omen.

All-in-all, an excellent way to spend an anniversary!

Friday, July 1, 2016

Bunting Socks

Just in time for Independence Day!  My local yarn store was carrying a lovely patriotic colorway by Fiber Seed called Stars and Stripes, and I decided to try to come up with a fun sock pattern using the variegated yarn and sparkly yarn by Kraemer called Sterling Silver and Silk.

The Sterling Silver and Silk is a lot of fun, because it adds a very subtle sparkle to the socks, very reminiscent of fireworks!

Breanna's feet are almost the same size as mine now, so I am shamelessly utilizing her as my sock model.  It is much easier to photograph someone else's feet, ha ha!

The pattern is now available on my Ravelry page (click here for link if you are interested.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

An African Feast

 The kids have currently been studying ancient Africa in their history lessons. Our history book, Story of the World, always has some very cool hands on activities that correspond with the history lesson.

We don't have time to do all the activities that I would like, but I do try to make at least one thing with each chapter section. This particular activity was perfect for my kids, because they just love food!

We got to make an African style dinner! Peter made steamed yams.

Gabe made the main dish, which was chicken legs cooked with figs, lemon, parsley, and other spices.

Brianna made the rice, which had some interesting spices as well as papaya and red peppers!

Several of the fables in the chapter were about Anansi the spider and food. The kids enjoyed getting to learn about the foods in the stories.

I also made some fried plantain which everyone enjoyed very much, surprisingly. Peter liked the meal so much that he requested it for his birthday dinner!

Sunday, November 8, 2015


This has been one of the most beautiful autumns I can remember.

I have been using every excuse to get outside and enjoy the last few waning days of warm weather.

It is so easy to get busy with day to day things and forget that there are some beautiful places to go for a nature walk nearby.

Bringing my camera with me is a lot of fun as well, because it makes me more aware of little vignettes of beauty that I would normally just walk right past without noticing.