Saturday, November 28, 2009


Mama Squirrel has posted a poem that is just excellent. Still feeling guilty about my bloggy outburst the other day, I can see my own craven whininess, and I now plan to take the prince as my model, and use what I find to reach as high as I can. I am too much like Eeyore and Toad (Arnold Lobel's, not Kenneth Grahame's), and ought to exert myself rather than pout.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

In Which I Explain the Lack of Blog Posts

I haven't been writing much lately, and part of it is that I am not a professional writer or a student who must write regularly. No one is making me write.

(I probably *should* write regularly. I could use the practice. Which brings up a neat little conundrum. When folks say they wish people who can't write would stop littering the world with twaddle, how in the world do they intend to provide for people who could perhaps achieve twaddle-free status with practice? Most people are not simply born able to produce scintillating prose or lucid poetry. Perhaps when folks say they wish people who can't write would stop littering the world with their twaddle, what they really mean is they wish people who can't write would stop having their twaddle published, or perhaps that the publishers would be a little more discerning, or something. like. that. Hmph. UPDATE: Having slept, I realize what a rant this is. Obviously, people who say that-- and I have been known to say it myself-- mean books published for impressionable young minds, not blog posts by moms. I'm too sensitive. Not that we blogger moms should acquiesce to lower standards. Not by any means. But still. So I feel better this morning. And I apologize for exposing my faithful readers to my angst and frustration. I really should sleep in between writing and posting.)

I do keep having ideas on what to write, and when I try to follow them I realize it's going to be a long trip-- so I can either pursue that idea, or pursue the kids' school day, or pursue household duties, or pursue the reading of yet another book I should have read in my teens and twenties. I really enjoy that last, by the way. In fact, I attribute the long-and-winding-idea-road to the reading of books that keep shaking my paradigms. My mental furniture must be rearranged yet again, and I must absorb (or reject) and unpack before I can explain.

So, no posts lately. That's why.

In other exciting news:

* We finished the first term of the school year and had exams last week. They went well. I'm not sure if I will be sharing any results this time (see above). I'm super excited about the next term, and pray the girls will have at least half my level of enthusiasm by the end of Thanksgiving break. All three of them are in great AO/HEO years. (All of them are great, right? But the girls are doing Years 3, 6 and 9 this year. So amazing to have Renaissance/Reformation side-by-side with the American Revolution and the ancient Greeks and Romans. For those who don't know, each girl has her own history thread. They aren't doing all three at once! But I keep all three in my head as much as I can, and it is interesting to notice ideas in one era that bore fruit in another.)

* We are currently painting the great room, which consists of kitchen, dining and living room, and two short hallways. We are using a beautiful color called Cliveden Leather. Mariel says it makes our home look Italian. I am very sore. I hope to finish painting tomorrow, but putting everything back in place will take awhile. I love, love, love the color. This is the room we spend the most time in, and I am thrilled to reclaim it for a little beauty. The kids have helped a lot with removing switchplates and window hardware and with painting, and I am counting it all as handicrafts. :D You should see all the stacks of books under our dining table and in the bedroom.

And finally, please have a happy Thanksgiving! There are many things for us to be thankful for, not the least of which is a God who exists and has shown us the way of love and excellence and purpose, so let us go forth with joy!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Sketch Tuesday: Sunsets

Harmony Art Mom is still on vacation, so we are posting our sketches here again. The focus is sunsets.

Aravis used oil pastels to make a scene from a favorite spot in West Texas.

Mariel used oils to paint a beach sunset in Maine on the Fourth of July.

Cornflower used watercolors for a painting of a bay.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Now, *That* is a Great Beginning!

The kettle began it! Don't tell me what Mrs. Peerybingle said. I know better. Mrs. Peery- bingle may leave it on record to the end of time that she couldn't say which of them began it; but, I say the kettle did. I ought to know, I hope! The kettle began it, full five minutes by the little waxy- faced Dutch clock in the corner, before the Cricket uttered a chirp.

As if the clock hadn't finished striking, and the convulsive little Haymaker at the top of it, jerking away right and left with a scythe in front of a Moorish Palace, hadn't mowed down half an acre of imaginary grass before the Cricket joined in at all!

Why, I am not naturally positive. Every one knows that. I wouldn't set my own opinion against the opinion of Mrs. Peerybingle, unless I were quite sure, on any account whatever. Nothing should in- duce me. But, this is a question of fact. And the fact is, that the kettle began it, at least five minutes before the Cricket gave any sign of being in exist- ence. Contradict me, and I'll say ten.

So begins _Cricket on the Hearth_ by Charles Dickens. Don't you want to read the rest now?

Sketch Tuesday: Famous Landmarks

Harmony Art Mom is taking the month of November off, but she gave us a Sketch Tuesday assignment for each week. This week's assignment was to sketch a famous landmark.

Aravis drew the Alamo:

Cornflower drew the Acropolis:

I can't locate Mariel's, but if I find it I will post it.

Monday, November 09, 2009

The Open Road London (1927)

The girls and I saw the haunts of some book-friends in this terrific old movie of London. h/t to The Anchoress!

Friday, November 06, 2009

Ode to Tea

Steaming comfort, wafting cheer,
Cozy for unhappy hands,
Fair reminder of repose,
Token of exotic lands:

Morning Thunder motivates,
Fortifies, infusing tact,
Raspberry Gardens beautifies
Constant, stern, quotidian fact;

Cinnamon Apple, Bengal Spice,
Peppermint and Lemon Zing,
Blueberry and Country Peach--
A cup of tea is a wondrous thing.

Composed by me for The Beehive's Poetry Ceilidh I

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Tea in a Saucepan

Today was Cornflower's birthday (see previous post, I'm too lazy to link tonight) and she woke up with a fever, cough and headache. Poor Cornflower. She slept most of the morning.

The rest of us did schoolwork in the morning and scrubbed acrylic paint off the sidewalk in the afternoon. Don't ask.

It doesn't sound like it would be a Keeping Day, does it? But it was.

After dinner tonight, Cornflower and I read the first three chapters of Half-Magic by Edward Eager. As my voice got tired, I realized that I wanted a sweet something. My brilliant mind putting two and two together, I remembered that we had pre-shaped cookie dough in the freezer. Bake and eat!

I suggested we adjourn to the kitchen. Cornflower's sisters quickly figured out what we were about, and before you could say Jack Robinson, the teacups were out and the water in the kettle.

Mariel got the OED and beguiled us into a game of Dictionary.

Cornflower sat down to the piano with her faithful pink frog, and announced that Kermit wanted to perform for us. He accomplished this by propping himself against Cornflower's lap, playing Into the West (from LOTR), Turkey in the Straw and Ode to Joy, and then, for a finale, sat on the couch and played one song by telepathy. (Please pay no attention to the slightly feverish child at the piano.)

While the cookies baked, I steeped the tea in a saucepan. I was not inclined to get out the china teapot (hand-wash only, and I had already reclaimed two sinkloads of dirty dishes) but my dishwasher-safe pitchers were out of commission-- one, made of glass, was cold from being in the fridge, while my plastic pitcher was not yet recovered from being used in the chalk-and-acrylic-paint art/experiment of the day before.

(In case you are wondering, steel wool and water will eventually remove glow-in-the-dark acrylic paint from concrete.)

We ate chocolatey chocolate cookies and drank peppermint tea (ladled out of the saucepan with my crockpot ladle) and tried to stump one another with words such as obreptitious and opsimathy and palliate. We laughed because Aravis is obreptitious and I am a kind of opsimath. And if we had been in charge of word meanings, we would have decided that palliating was the art of painting horses.

Today was a gem. We had illness and tears and leftover mess and a math lesson that took way too long-- and yet, today was Grand. It goes in the vault as a Keeping Day.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009






Happy 9th birthday, My Cornflower! Love you, sweetie.

Get wisdom, get understanding: forget it not;
neither decline from the words of my mouth.
Forsake her not, and she shall preserve thee:
love her, and she shall keep thee.
Proverbs 4:5-6

Monday, November 02, 2009

Novel Philosophy

What we do not perceive is, that philosophy as found written in books of philosophy to-day has become more or less academic; she no longer "cries at the gates, at the entry of the city, at the coming in at the doors, Unto you, O men, I call; and my voice is to the sons of men."

She has become an affair of the Schools. Men meet with her there, not to their souls' profit so much as for the joy of intellectual gymnastic.

But philosophy keeps to herself still two or three resorts from which we may hear her voice, 'Unto you, O men, I call.' The poets entertain her; through them she still calls to men; but her message is often implicit, and only the attentive ear may hear. Those who do hearken at the coming in of this door get oracles of price, luminous words for the interpretation of their days.

In the novel, however, she is explicit, takes up every one of the functions which we have seen Plutarch assign her; unfolds ourselves to us as poor things, most likely, and flashes a search-light upon our innocent little ways, our much-to-be-condoned moods. Also, as philosophy is for our instruction in life, and as our chief business is the bringing up of the generation to follow, the great novelists offer us a key to the vexed problem of education.

from "Young Crossjay" by Charlotte Mason (Volume 5)


"If much hangs and turns upon the choice of the work we are to do and the field where we are to do it, it must not be forgotten how much also depends on the time when it is undertaken, the way in which it is performed, and the associates in the labour. In all these matters the true workman will wait for the Master's beck, glance, or signal before a step is taken."

from George Mueller of Bristol by A.T. Pierson