I apologize for the varying photo quality, but I wanted to share some of the projects I’ve been working on over the summer. With the baby girl finally getting big enough I’ve had a reason to dive into my sewing stash of fabric and vintage 70’s patterns to work on a few things. (note: I do sew things for my son too, but boys clothes just don’t have the variety so he gets a lot of pajama pants in favorite characters and prints). The rompers in the top and lower left are still in project – just waiting for me to have a moment to do some hand sewing and put some button holes in, but the dress on the top right was done in time for the little girl’s first birthday. And the Star Wars sugar skull skirt? That’s for me, because why not!
Slightly blurry because this girl is always on the move and slightly too big, but that means we’ll get more time out of it.
And one project I can’t believe I actually finished, after 2.5 years of slowly, slowly stitching on it….
Van Gogh’s Starry Night in cross-stitch.
I’m hoping to get this one framed someday soon and honestly, I can’t believe I really managed to stitch this.
I’m hoping to find more time to sew and tackle some other crafting projects this fall – I have Starry Night fabric that’s just waiting to be made into a dress, as well as a stack of vintage bed sheets I got for a steal on Ebay to make into clothes for me and the kids. I’m hoping I can score some vintage Star Wars sheets in the future – everyone in the family would love some new pajamas. Plus there’s the knitting. I haven’t done much this year, but I’d love to get back in the habit of trying to make my family each something warm to wear by Martinmas – I’d love to make the baby girl a new bonnet and my husband has decimated his third pair of fingerless gloves, not sure what the boy will want or need yet, but that’s the goal. Always so many goals and never enough time.
As most people who either know me or have been following my blogs for awhile know – we are not homeschoolers. We’re proud public schoolers who are lucky enough to have a great public school option full of dedicated teachers, opportunities and good community support. However, I don’t believe that I get to pack up my kid and forget about their education 180 days of the year. I still love more classical approaches to education like Charlotte Mason and general Classical education and I do wish I had a classical program to choose from locally, but you make do with what you have. I don’t believe any school is perfect, but I also don’t believe school is meant to stand on it’s own. School and home, in my mind, are symbiotic and one needs to support the other. I send my kids to get instruction in the basics – math, reading, writing, along with some music, art and physical exercise thrown in. If I want more for my kids, I need to work to provide it. After all – I’ve done the math; my kids will spend in a year: 6 months sleeping, 2 months at school and 4 months at home. There’s plenty of time to work in other experiences and subjects without over burdening them.
I’m not strict – my kids don’t come home to four more hours of course work at night. I just use other available resources to help guide our interests through the year. For instance, I really like the Classical approach to history so I use books compiled from various homeschool programs to guide our library selections. I appreciate Charlotte Mason’s “Living Book” philosophy and that guides my read aloud and audiobook selections. It’s not oppressive, it’s just intentional: intentional inspired learning.
This is a year I’ve been waiting for. My son is starting 1st grade which is when most classical programs really start introducing history, so I’ve already started bringing home library books about early civilizations.
Using various curriculums and book lists for inspiration this is what I’ve got my eye set on this year:
Using various homeschool booklists to inspire our library selection – focusing on introducing early history (Egyptians, Rome, Greece, Celts, Vikings and hopefully find more on Asian, Pacific and early American history)
Finally getting into the Story of the World Cd’s I bought last year (long story short we barely used them because the car we ended up using most often doesn’t have a cd player – our new van does though!) I’m also considering get it as a Kindle book to help us get through it too.
Star Wars workbooks: Since he’s reading chapter books I skipped the reading one, but got us Handwriting and Math Skills.
Bedtime Math: okay, a big part of me feels this is ridiculously, but the kid loves these books so why not!
He’s starting to gain my love of amature birding so I’m hoping to set up more feeders and keep tracking our spotting. It’s nice to have something to do together as a hobby. We use these cards to track our spots.
I recently invested in a turntable so we can go through my old records and explore some new oldies. I saw on an Instagram post a little while ago about records being a fun way to do music, plus being so cheap in thrift stores to make in an affordable quirk.
That’s really it for now, even though it might seem like a lot it’s just supplements – things to do when he’s on a roll and things to have on hand if we struggle or need a little inspiration.
We took one of our first real vacations this last week – a trip not attached to a conference, a family event or a holiday. Just the four of us. Four days away from the world here and up to the much bigger world in Chicago. I’m happy to say that we survived, even though it’s been years since I’ve had to navigate big city driving. We stayed downtown in a hotel by the River Walk (thanks to a good Hotwire.com deal) and spent two and a half days exploring the Museums on Museum Campus, Millenium Park, Maggie Daly park and the Museum of Science and Industry. On the way out we stopped at Starved Rock State Park for a few hours of hiking – it was gorgeous, but so many stairs! I hope to take us back this fall just for a day to finish up the trails when the leaves are turning, and hopefully, see a few waterfalls in the gorges. We discovered the joy of take out and ordered our breakfast each morning from a place called Wildberry and ate crepes, french toast and pancakes by the “Bean” in Millenium Park (I highly recommend this if you’re visiting – the wait for the restaurant was about 45 mins to an hour, so we just put in our order as we left the hotel and it was ready to be picked up by the time we walked the half mile down from the hotel.) We picnicked at the museums from our backpack filled with sandwiches and other lunch food and then ordered take out from Giordano’s when we started the walk back.
I have to hand it to my six-year-old – 10 miles of walking each day, and while there was some complaining he did it all. And walking instead of paying for parking and navigating traffic was definitely a good call.
It was a great little trip, but it was definitely good to have a reminder of why we no longer live in a big city. The chaos, clutter, and noise are not a payoff we’re willing to make for the sights, sounds and experience it has to offer.
The only thing I wish I could have gotten to while we were there was a Mass at St. John Cantius, which I didn’t know about until after we had arrived. It’s a parish known for it’s Latin Masses, plus they do the whole daily prayer (Vespers, etc.) routine and I wish I could have made it over the worship and experience of it. Maybe next time.
Over all a good trip and just the right length and things planned. I am excited that we’re at the point of life that we can do things like this again. I do love to travel and explore and we spent the drive home listing out the National Park and places we want to take the kids over the next few years – “Up North” along the Great Lakes (oh how being on the Lake made me crave the Up North again), over to the Rockies and up to Yellowstone and Glacier, over to D.C., down to the Mammoth Caves and the east coast and back “home” to Oregon at some point. Sweet dreams are made of these.
Just checking in to say hello. It’s been a busy summer. Two kids is busy enough, but throw in activities, and life and jobs and all sorts of things and it gets busier.
I’ve been trying to be more intentional with my free time and it’s never enough to share what you want to be doing and then loose the time to do those things. So I’ve been trying to make better time, reading, sewing, even (literally and figuratively) dusting off my piano. It’s been good to just do and not worry about curating thoughts and images for other people’s perusal for a while.
But I’m still here in this space. This is my space for bigger thoughts and ideas, and I’m over on Instagram with smaller tidbits and snatches of life.
I’ve even turned my fascination of church buildings into an official hobby of documenting small town Catholic churches over there.
Life is about to get busy agsin, even though it hadn’t exactly called down. We start school again in a few weeks and im anxious to see what that holds- new teacher, new classroom, new activities, just a new challenge to dive into.
Now that the baby is bigger I’m enjoying having life return to a bit of normalcy again. These first years are about survival and I did a pretty good job pairing life down to the essentials, but I’m ready to do more. Work in my garden again, do more crafting again, read so much more, maybe even work on my prayer life a bit.
I hope everyone else has had a good summer too. What’s been going on in your neck of the woods?