Sunday, January 30, 2011

Planning for the Homeschool Week

Usually each Sunday afternoon, I sit at my secretary and prepare the upcoming week's homeschool plans.  Each of the four older children have a weekly chart.  I have found this to be the only way to keep up with five grades and one three year old.

I make the grid marks by hands and write out each child's plan with pen and ink.  I know I could do this on a computer generated grid or make a grid and make copies, but as I draw each line, I think about that particular child.  That time of quiet reflection helps to guide me to meet the individual needs of each.

Warm wishes for a beautiful Sunday evening,

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Yarn Along

I am joining in with Ginny again this week. 
I finished the booties and added needle felted hearts on the tops and cast on to knit a hat for Abraham since we seem to have lost the other hat I knit for him. 

I have been flipping through the Tightwad Gazette.  It is a book I look through about once a year to get some more thrify ideas and creative ways to save money.

Warm wishes, Tonya

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

How Cold Was It?

Our kitchen window completely iced over

Our car did not want to start.  Mike put out some metal to try and reflect the sun to help heat up the engine.

On the coldest day of the winter thus far, the children spent more time outside than usual.  I was a bit concerned and kept checking their fingers and asking them if they felt cold.
They iced up the little hill down to the pond and used all kinds of things to slide down on - here is a sled on a wooden ladder.

No need for a sled when they have their big brother to pile on...

(It didn't get above 8 degrees or so after being minus 25 the night before.)

 Warm wishes, Tonya

Monday, January 24, 2011

Happy 3rd Birthday Abraham

at 11 months


At Three!
Sarah wrapped up some of her silly bands to give to Abraham this morning at breakfast.

Abraham has brought nothing but more love into our lives.   We are thankful.  Happy Birthday.


Saturday, January 22, 2011

Giveaway at Living Crafts Blog

Living Crafts has a new blog and is offering one of our family's pencil holders as well as some art supplies.
The blog is full of inspiration and projects.

You can go here to enter.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Our Guitar Playing Son

Nolan, who turned 15 in December, is an avid guitar player, both acoustic and electric. 

He is self-taught on the guitar and does know how to read music thanks to a year of violin lessons when he was much younger.

He also enjoys woodworking and has been working on what else, but an electric guitar model.

He practices about  2 - 3 hours each day, all on his own initiative.  I much prefer when he practices the acoustic because the electric guitar is loud and on its own not very soothing to listen to. 

While there is some Christian rock being played  and both Thomas and Nolan play for their youth group worship music time, they also like symphonic metal - such as Nightwish -  and bands like Switch Foot and Three Days Grace.

Nolan admires the electric guitar playing abilities of Slash from Guns and Roses, so Mike and I have  flashbacks from time to time when we hear Welcome to the Jungle echoing throughout the house.  (Oh we have come so far from our college days with dear husband cranking a Guns and Roses cassette in his old Buick Skylark.)

still a work in progress, the wood came from Nolan using a hatchet on some of our firewood, a piece of cherry for the neck and maple for the rest

However, finding a balance as a parent has meant letting go of my wants at times, and learning to compromise   in order to nurture the children's interests, gifts, and dreams.  In this case I look past his use of electricity  in order to play because while I may not choose this path, he has.  It is so different than our family's decision not to have a toaster, microwave, central heating, or a dryer.  

 We have also chosen to be open to alternative  music as long as there are few if any profanities and the content is not too alarming.  It has given us opportunities for discussion to talk about what is uplifting and what would glorify God or not.

There is give and take along our journey.

Warm wishes, Tonya

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Yarn Along

Joining in with Ginny of Small Things ~

~ I just have to add the buttons to the vest

~ Started on a pair of woolen booties, adapting a pattern from Vintage Knits for Modern Babies, using some soft beige wool yarn my son, Isaac, bought me for Christmas

~  Reading parts of a book that I refer to every couple of months, A Handmade Life, In Search of Simplicity by Wm. S. Coperthwaite

Here is one excerpt ~
"When we produce an article of clothing for others with concern for their welfare, we knit this concern into the garment.  Those who recognize that extra quality will feel a greater sense of care and affection - as well as warmth - when they wear the gift.  For those who know this, the hand-knit mittens are more beautiful.  Our sense of the beautiful is greatly influenced by knowledge."

Warm wishes, Tonya

Monday, January 17, 2011

Snapshots from the Past Week

Basketball on skates?

Our oldest, Thomas, celebrating seventeen

Abraham  in pink

Sarah's fort with pine cone decorations

Sunday, January 16, 2011

We Don't Need a Toaster

What do you do when family and friends may simply not understand your choices in living?  and quite possibly not respect them either....

We did not need a toaster - we did not want a toaster.  If it had been a priority for us, we would have bought one years ago. 

When we think about whether or not we need something, we take several factors into consideration - are we doing ok without it?  is it something that will improve our life?  where was it made?  what will happen to the item when it breaks (will it end up filling the earth?) will using this item use natural resources such as electricity, gas or oil?  Will it take up space that could be used for something better?

Heating up our bread or bagels on the cast iron pan or on a grate on the woodstove has served us just fine for many years.

Am I being ungrateful?


Friday, January 14, 2011

Candle Dipping - Beeswax Tapers and Birthday Candles

Abby dipping our tapers.  We make our own candles each winter from the beeswax we buy from our neighbor.  It has been a joy to watch Abby enjoy and learn the different seasonal projects we do each year.

She made 9 pairs of birthday candles to use for Thomas' 17th birthday party tomorrow.  Seventeen, oh my!

The finished taper to light each night with supper.

Warm wishes,

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Yarn Along

I am joining in with Ginny again this Wednesday....

Still working on the vest.  I am excited as it looks as if it will fit Sarah and she is happy about that too.  She is a very petite six years.

Starting to knit math process gnomes for Sarah's math.  I used a pattern from The Gnome Craft Book and changed it a bit.

I am starting to read through a book I received as a Christmas gift from a friend,  Opening Our Wild Hearts to the Healing Herbs, by Gail Faith Edwards.  I would love to learn more about using herbs and plan to add more to our gardens each year.
    What are you reading and knitting (or other handwork)?

    Warm wishes, Tonya

    (Thank you so much for all the kind words about the engraved letters.  I will let you know when I have some for sale in the shop.  I am also going to look into switching over the blog to Typepad so that I can reply to all of your thoughtful comments. I will keep you posted.)

    Monday, January 10, 2011

    Branch Engraved Reading Manipulatives

    I wood burned letters on birch branches to work with Sarah.   She is a young girl with lots of energy and my hope is that by her physically moving the letters together to form words she will begin to get a better understanding of how individual sounds come together to make the word.  I crocheted up a little wool bowl to keep them in.  It will be fun to create all kinds of word families for her.

    Warm wishes, Tonya

    (Stephinie from Gypsy Forest, posted much of her handmade holiday goodness at her blog last week.)

    Saturday, January 8, 2011

    Snuggle Size Knit Gnome

    I doubled the number of stitiches from the pattern here to make a baby doll sized gnome.

    Warm wishes, Tonya

    Friday, January 7, 2011

    Weather Tree

    A new daily ritual with Sarah, Grade K/1, is to put a new leaf on our weather tree each day.  I had a nice blank wall and quickly painted up a tree.  The idea came from the wonderful book, All Year Round.  Each day, Sarah writes the number of the month and colors the leaf in - for example, white for snowy, grey for cloudy (a lot of those these days), blue for rainy, yellow for sunny, a rainbow leaf for a family member's birthday, etc...
    It will be fun to see it fill up with a variety of leaves in different colors throughout the year.

    Warm wishes, Tonya

    Wednesday, January 5, 2011

    Yarn Along

    Joining in with Ginny today...

    Using Peace Fleece in Blue Jay, I have started another vest using size 11 needles.  The vest should fit a toddler when finished. 

    I am about 2/3 of the way through Coop - A Family, a Farm, and the Pursuit of One Good Egg, by Michael Perry.   Quoted from the back cover, "Living in a ramshackle Wisconsin farmhouse - faced with thirty-seven acres of fallen fences and overgrown fields, and informed by his pregnant wife that she intends to deliver their baby at home - "
    I have enjoyed the light entertaining reading and simple reflections on life that are weaved throughout.

    Warm wishes, Tonya

    Tuesday, January 4, 2011

    Hanging Laundry Inside

    As part of keeping things simple (considering our criteria for every purchase) and being gentle to the earth, we choose not to own a dryer, and instead, hang our clothes outside in the nice weather, and inside the rest of the year.

    We have a very basic system.

    On either side of our bathroom, we put in screws and then attached a rope to each screw.  On this line, I use clothespins and hangers to get as much as possible on that one line.

    The smaller pieces of laundry - socks, underwear, rags and cloths, and napkins all go on a small hanging rack that is in our bedroom which is close to the woodstove in the main living area.

    I do one load of laundry each day. 
    Warm wishes,

    Monday, January 3, 2011

    Knit Vest Pattern

    I've had several requests and here is the link to the vest pattern.

    The doll kit I purchased from a local museum shop.  The kit is called - Miss Poppet, An Early American Cloth Doll Kit.

    Warm wishes,

    Sunday, January 2, 2011

    Some Sewing and Some Knitting

    I just love this time of year to spend more time on handwork.

    Another infant wool vest for our shop

    After supper last night, Abby and I sewed up this little rag doll.  It was so nice to work together.  She is 10 years old and she would stuff and braid and help cut the pieces.  She has begun to use the sewing machine as well.  We purchased it as a kit.  Very simple.  It makes me eager to try our skills at more - like this one .

    Good thing we have lots of winter left.
    Warm wishes,

    Saturday, January 1, 2011

    A New Year

    Happy New Year!

    Last night we all stayed at home and played games, snacked, enjoyed the new branch rope swing Mike made for the little ones, and watched a movie from the BBC that wasn't really all that good.

    It is just a branch slice with a rope.  We have high ceilings in our living area with a beam across the middle - perfect for a swing.  We can take it off and on easily with a "S" hook.

    and a bar too!

    a  late night treat of sherbert

    Today we are still enjoying one another's company -
    the tree came down
    more organizing and cleaning
    home learning planning
    goals and lists are being made (goats, chicks, herbs, berries to start)


    cinnamon rolls for lunch

    Warm wishes for a beautiful day and a year filled with beautiful moments,