Sunday, February 8, 2015

February Daybook~ Links I Love, Lent Prep, Books We're Into, Circumference, Nervous System, Whovian Cookies, Fitness Stuff, Mom's Birthday, Arthur Miller & Lots More

Hi there and welcome, friends~ !
Boy,  it's been a ridiculously long time since I wrote a daybook. I so  love blogging in daybook format! Don't you find it provides a solid thought-purge? Also  refocuses my writing, homekeeping, homeschooling, family plans.......

Outside my window~ Snow, snow, snow, snow. Ice too. Gorgeous, really. But slick and pretty dangerous. Accidents and falls are entirely too prominent around here these days. Our "lawn" is glistening as one solid sheet of ice!

I'm thinking~ About soooooo many things. 
*Today's my Mom's birthday....her 6th birthday in heaven. February 8th was always surprise and candy and flower and gift-filled. It was always a perfectly wonderful day. So there's no more of the tangible celebrations, just the prayers and the lit candles at mass and the reflections and the 
knowing that there is a huge party in heaven tonight. And we miss her so very much.

* This blog.....  As you can see, my home here on the web has gotten a bit of a renovation.  It was all  precipitated by  the temporary demise of the company who offered my initial design.  The company seemed to 'disappear,' taking my blog with it, sort of, I think. I'm not even sure.......Then I installed a new template, which I didn't hate,  but certainly didn't love.....then I discovered that Shabby Blogs is back! woohoo! My original denim/lace background seems to be gone and this one is, well, something to get used to...I think I kinda like it!  Three cheers for this generous company who offers free templates, buttons, blinkies and awesomeness! 
I'd ask you what you think because I would like to offer a  pleasant atmosphere to my friends and readers when they stop over to my virtual home, but design <blogs and otherwise) is so darn subjective.  I'm finally  growing to like this style and I guess I can only hope my visitors find it somewhat appealing...... and maybe even soothing? I don't know.
Also on the blog front, unintentionally less blogging..... Recognizing that I've been  logging a whole lot less........I looked into the archives and found that in  January 2014, I published 27 posts.  This January, however, only 6. Priorities have shifted. Which doesn't mean my affinity for my blog and blogging and general have diminished. Just that the pull toward other pieces of my life is precluding time spent here.
*Also thinking about our February calendar and schedules and being sure that we have some time, some calm, that we  don't spend the month flitting from activity to activity...especially since the lenten season begins in mid month.  if not a slower pace, than a more intentional, measured focus to our days. I think it's been successful when we've tried this in the past, which is one of the reasons my blog has been hearing crickets of late. 

I'm thankful~ For health;  for safety, particularly in this hazardous winter weather;  for the means to provide a lovely Valentine-special dinner - not to be taken for granted - and a few little gifts for the boys;  for time.

Learning notes~ Well, the highlights? Hmmmmm, in Geography, more  US states and capitals. Science~  central nervous system/brain study. Posts on some of the fun and awesome
resources we've used for the studies coming  soon. Never one to say NO to cookie making, we made state as well as central nervous system sugar cookies this week:

 And of course we had some extra dough left for a cookie TARDIS and dalek:

Sir Cumference and the Dragon of PiMath ~ Let's see we're following Math U See's Zeta right now  so operations with fractions, percent  and decimals, as well as lots of word problems are the order of the week. Next week, we're revisiting circumference as it turns up again in the curriculum. Here's a fun circumference study we did last year as well as a GREAT book to read as an intro or review of the topic.:
Reading/Phonics ~ Because my son is dyslexic, we don't adhere to a traditional spelling program, but use instead Orton Gillingham multi sensory resources. Since reading disabilities is my "background," I'm fortunate to have experience and knowledge in this area, though I'm ALWAYS looking to pursue better/different teaching techniques. These are our go to books due to their consistent approach to teaching/reviewing phonemes. Blast off to Reading and 
Recipe for Reading .
Cursive, history, read alouds, Bible study/saint studyindependent reading
 morning rosary too. LOTS more of those and I'll elaborate  possibly in a future post.

Celebrating the liturgical year~
Ah, February...Valentine's Day, Lent.....  I love tradition. I love the comfort and the knowing that everything will be the same. Except nothing is really the same, is it? The best traditions for our family,  it seems, must change by necessity.  What once seemed like it would always be that way, isn't. And gradually, you realize year after year, it's never going to be the same again.  The world has other ideas and pulls us outward.

Also, clicking over to these don't miss faith links~

Supporting 50 Ways to Pray Instead of 50 Shades of Grey

 Reasons Why Bruce Jenner Can Still Be Catholic, But Kim Kardashian’s Butt Cannot

I'm creating~ Hopefully, rhythm and warmth at home......

I'm going~ Let's see.... basketball practice and games, play rehearsal. Did I mention lately how much Arthur Miller rocks? My younger son is in a  local production of The Crucible. Wow, the director? She's  brilliant and the staging is sure to be unique and striking. We watched the movie, which was haunting and amazing. Did you know that Arthur Miller was involved in the writing of the screenplay? Once you've experienced Daniel Day Lewis bringing down the house as Proctor, there's just no other version of this classic that will do, you know?  
Also headed to parish choir rehearsal, with my older son, who plays violin in the group;  youth group meetings, a few errands and hopefully not shoveling this week!

I'm listening to ~ the cast of The Crucible as they breath life into Miller's words. 
"We are what we always were in Salem, but now the little crazy children are jangling
 the keys of the kingdom, and common vengeance writes the law!."

I'm reading~
In print and online I've a lot to share with you! Who
 among us doesn't yearn for  more "downtime" to just revel in the printed word? I'm  trying, lately, to intentionally weave family  literary enjoyment into a few minutes before sleep at night, in between subjects during our homeschool day, while we wait at the dentist, mechanic, for play and choir rehearsal to begin and etc......  My little guy loooooves to cook and we're trying to squeeze literature into the kitchen too.... We get a heck of a lot read and enjoyed in whatever read aloud we're into while he scrapes potatoes or fries chicken! And then there are days when things run smoothly and we have the luxury of stopping time for books.  Candle burning,  snow tumbling,  falling into classic literature. Yeah, it does happen, once in a while. My son and I are enjoying The Hobbit <again>. Really, is there such a thing as too much Tolkien?  When we complete the novel, we're looking forward to a movie viewing. I know the whole world's seen 
The Desolation of Smaug,    especially those Sherlock fans among us.Well, not us.Not yet. We're a bit slow on the Hobbit movie viewing bandwagon, but we're getting there. And by the way, if you're not watching Sherlock, you should be. It's typically genius BBC entertainment. Period.
Now about Mommy-reading: I must read at night, despite how tired I may be. I feel as if I have to "take in" as a way to decompress by "giving" all day. Do you, too? Managing the home and hearth, chauffeuring, teaching, meal prep,  laundering, you know the drill..... it's a lot of giving, a lot of "output." I love it and can't imagine doing  anything else. Buuuut at night, when all is quiet, I do need that space for just me and the written word.  Sooooo,  right now I'm into the Blossom Street series by Debbie Macomber. It's  simply delightful...... I so so recommend it. The characters are sweet, real, genuine. Add a star if you knit; you'll find out why once you start digging in. ALSO reading a delightful story about an Australian home educating family, The Angels of Abbey Creek, which, friends, is a don't-pass-up title. A year in the life. The highs, lows, the everyday, the liturgical year feasts. Really, this book  needs to be on your shelf.

Links I love~Literary/homeschooling  links. I' ve enjoyed these and learned from them a great deal -love to share with you: 

Harper Lee's Long Lost Sequel

Stop Saying “It’s Easy” and “Try Harder” to Your Dyslexic Child

A Daily Reading Plan for Shakespeare

On the fitness front:  AKA the  I'm-attempting-to-firm-but-it's-a-Jack-London-novel-out-there-so--I-have-to-find-a-way-while-INSIDE front..... here are a couple of  awesome, quick, free and no excuse fitness-y links for ya if you're in the same boat:
 10 Minute solution
Fitness Blender

From the kitchen~
Simple, simple, simple. Lots of crock pot usage, easy but tasty pasta with french bread and  sauces.  Maybe  a frozen pizza with a salad on the side on one of our buser days/nights. Definitely trying Tomato Spinach Egg Cups  and  Baked French Fries with Blue Cheese Sauce. I know, I know...they may sound sort of, um, not initially appealing, right? But go check out the how - to and the pics. Oh my goodness----love!

Thank you for spending some of your precious time today
here at my home on the web! 

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  1. I like your new blog look:) Change sometimes can take time to get used to. Your children are going to have a wonderful year, so many excellent opportunities within the community!

    1. Erin~~ Thanks so much for your encouragement! I do think you're's a big change in look---hard to get used to.

      Thanks for stopping by~~ I so love when you visit!!

  2. Hi Chris! First, thank you for the awesome link love for my 50 Ways to Pray Instead of 50 Shades post! You are so sweet!

    I like the new look to your blog! I'm glad to hear SB is up and running again!

    Happy birthday in heaven to your beautiful Mama! This picture of her reminds me so much of your youngest! She's smiling down on you so proud of all you do for your sweet family and friends!

    I love all the baking activities you do with fun!

    And the book you are reading, The Angels..., sounds great! We love Hobbit too!

    I wish I could read period without falling asleep...Grrr...I can read a computer screen even when I'm tired, but sit me down with a book at night and I can't finish the first page :( I really need to read more for myself!

    Have a blessed week and another great post filled with great fun, memories and resources!

    1. Aw, I'm sooooo happy you stopped by and shared such encouragement! Your post was to share!!! It's just wonderful.

      And you're so sweet to offer compliments on Mom!

      And yes, reading~! I hear you! Even if I read a page or two at night, that's good enough...I just need that down time, you know, right?! You might really like the Macomber book series! I'm enjoying her tremendously!

      Thanks so much for stopping by, Tra!!

  3. Hi from Spain Chris! I only got this today ... continental time difference & all... Just wanted to say I was thinking of you around the time of your mom's birthday. Such a beautiful photo of her - I can see where you get your radiance from :-)
    We love the Dragon of Pi series, too! Have a fantastic week. xx

    1. Awww, aren't you sweet to stop by with your kindness and encouragement!

      THANK YOU!

      Well, enjoy your vacation in Spain, my friend.... I hope everything is going wonderfully for you all!

  4. Oh, I love the new look! Happy birthday to your mother in heaven. You must be missing her so much today.

    1. Rita~~ Thanks so much for stopping by! So happy that the new design is appealing!

      Yes, we do miss her~~ thinking of her happy birthday in heaven today :

      God bless

  5. It sounds like you and I are on a similar reading journey - trying to fir more into our lives. Once you make a bigger effort, you actually start to notice more and more times throughout the day that you could be reading, ya know?

    1. YES! Definitely know what you does happen that way.Just a little time here and there means a lot! It slows us down, I find too, this carving out of time to enjoy books.

      Thanks for stopping by, Jenna!!

  6. I'm sorry about your mom. My mom passed away last year and her birthday is hard for me too. My sister and I were recently discussing exactly what you pointed out that a day that used to be all about lunch dates, manicures, flowers, gifts & fun memories is now spent making a tearful visit to the cemetery.

    On a lighter note, my dad just told me about Harper Lee's sequel & I'm so excited for it to be released. I also need to read before bed, even if just for a few minutes. I like to have something light-hearted to think about as I fall asleep because otherwise I can't get my brain to stop buzzing. :)

    1. Aw, I'm so sorry, Laura about the loss of YOUR mom...

      And yes, I'm eager to get my hands on Lee's novel as well! How exciting! I totally hear you on the brain buzzing! Yes! we understand each other! I find it hard to just decompress w/o reading too!

      Thanks so much Laura, for stopping by! I'm heading over to your blog now to say HI.



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