Half the year is shot

Phil is an early riser.  When he goes to work, he gets up around 5:30 to take a shower and shave (the latter is mandatory for his job), pack his meals, do his devotions.  On his days “off,” he likes to get going by 7 or so.  If we get up later than that, he proclaims that “half the day is shot!”  It always makes me feel so lazy, because my normal time to get up is 7:30, and I won’t argue with 8 o’clock.  I remember the good ol’ days when “sleeping in” used to mean getting up around noon and having lunch!

When the last thing you wrote about was New Year’s and it’s almost June… well… half the year’s shot!  It feels like I have [almost] nothing to show for it!

We finished up our first official year homeschooling with Heart of Dakota’s Beyond Little Hearts for His Glory curriculum.  I had to send a letter of intent to the local school district, give them Gwen’s information (we assigned her to first grade, even though I feel grade levels are arbitrary), and then crossed my fingers that the year would go well.  We don’t follow the public school year, and I kept right along with our curriculum schedule, so we didn’t end up taking many breaks or holidays.  If something was going on during the week, we made up for it on the weekend.  But it’s not like the kids sit at a desk all day.  I have more of an “unschooling” mindset, giving my kids lots of freedom while working in some structured learning time.  I love what Albert Einstein said:

play is the highest form of research

I have to remind myself, when the kids are playing with LEGOs, coloring, building houses out of furniture and blankets and laundry baskets, creating their own games, running around outside… all of thst is so much more important than sitting down with a workbook.

Since the school year was, in my book, a success and the curriculum an easy, open-and-go system, I decided to stay with Heart of Dakota and use their Bigger Hearts for His Glory next year.  I already got the set secondhand from Homeschool Classifieds – love that site! – and am somewhat prepared for next school year.

My sweet Adeline turned two in February.  It’s so bittersweet watching my children grow, especially when it’s the youngest.  With each one, I wonder, will we have another? so in the back of my mind there’s always the possibility that I won’t experience all of these stages again.  I so miss the newborn stage!  Luckily, Addy is a little cuddle bug and likes to be held, but it’s just not the same as cradling a wee babe in your arms (one that doesn’t talk your ear off, too.).

For her birthday, I got Addy a tin tea set on sale and made some pretend tea bags using fabric scraps and weighted with grains of rice.  I had some leftover minky from another project, and showed Gwen my idea of making one of these for Addy, and she got so excited at the prospect.  She ended up helping me pick fabric and putting it together, calling it a “color monster” and naming her Wonderful Wilma.

birthday collage

Another project on my list was a peek-a-boo sack.  I had gotten some clear vinyl on sale and I finally decided to whip one up to store Addy’s tea set.  It was perfect!  I love how it came out.  I discovered when it was all done that I had melted a tiny hole in the vinyl when ironing the edge of the fabric, but then I found a way to fix it…

peek-a-boo bag

See the heart in the corner?  Yup, that’s covering the hole. I love creative fixes, and I love that it got me to add a heart to the front, something I wouldn’t have thought of otherwise.

We harvested some early spring honey from our beehives. It tasted so good, and cloves came to mind.  Phil hit the nail on the head when he said it tasted like maple, though – we think that’s where the bees were getting their nectar that early in the season.  So we took to calling it maple honey!  It was a pale yellow, much lighter than what you see in stores.  Can’t wait to taste it later in the season!

We added some more plants to our yard.  In addition to the fruit trees we already have, we added an Asian pear tree and a couple more blueberry bushes, in addition to some herbs and peonies that I picked out for Mother’s Day.  There are a whole bunch of fruit buds already on the trees and I’m so excited at the prospect of eating our own, homegrown, fresh fruit!  We’ve already harvest green onions, spinach, and salad greens from the raised beds.  I feel like I eat healthier this time of year and wish it weren’t so expensive to do year-round gardening.

So I’m not pregnant, but it seems like everyone else I know either recently had a baby or is expecting!  I’ve been whipping up burp cloths, bibs, baby booties, blankies (everything starting with the letter “B,” apparently).  I’m particularly happy for my twin brother and sister-in-law who will be having their first baby in November.  I laughed when she told me her due date, because Gwen and Josiah both have November birthdays.  I can’t wait to get started sewing for her little one, but want to know what flavor they’ll be having so I can plan accordingly.  Even before they thought about having kids, I knew I wanted to make this plush seahorse for Jenn; she lives in Florida and loves all things beach-y and sea-related.  I found some dark blue velvet material and set to work, cursing all the little pleats that I had to sew but loving how it progressed and actually looked like a real seahorse.  It came out smaller than I expected, but I love it.


I mailed it along with an expectant mama care package, including a pregnancy book, pregnancy tea, cocoa butter stretch mark lotion, granola bars, ginger candies, mints, crackers, and a story book.

Now that we’ve finished school, we’ve had more time to focus on other things.  We’ve been putting off camping since money has been going other places, but Phil took some time off work and we spent a few days having a sort of staycation.  We went hiking, had a couple picnics, walked along the rocks at Beavertail, got ice cream, went to Mystic Aquarium (my favorites are the Beluga Whales and the sting ray touch tank) and Village (Mango’s Wood Fired Pizza is yummy and I always browse Bestemors and Franklin’s General Store), watched “Home” in the theaters.  I wish it didn’t have to be a special occasion to spend time together!  I feel like everything goes so much more smoothly when we’re altogether as a family, rather than trying to hold down the fort all by myself.

I love trying new recipes, and spend a lot of time looking up ideas.  I don’t spend time taking pictures of all of the food I make or posting about every single meal I eat, but I’ve tried a bunch of new recipes that I thought I would share.  I can never make something as-written, preferring to play around with ingredients, add less sweetener, use coconut milk or yogurt for milk, try non-grain options, etc. but you can still get an idea of what we’ve had (all of these are from my Pinterest boards).
meals:  white chicken chiliskillet mac & beefchicken broccoli divanchicken carbonaraItalian spinach & chicken casserole, tortellini soup
bread: dark chocolate & walnut banana breadstrawberry walnut breadbanana & molasses toffee chip breadpeasant bread, 30-minute rolls
dessert: rhubarb & cinnamon cakepineapple upside down cakeflourless peanut butter chocolate chip cookies
sauces/seasonings: easy blueberry jamdiy Italian seasoningdiy condensed cream of chicken soup

Well, I think this will do for a 6-month recap, don’t you?  When the kids go to bed, I like to watch a show on Netflix while I fold laundry or catch up on other things, and recently I’ve been watching The Following, starring Kevin Bacon.  I like crime dramas, but really my tastes go all across the board.  Other shows I’ve re-watched/watched/continue to watch and love or like: Friends (of course), Drop Dead Diva, Switched At Birth, The Paradise, Bates Motel, Damages, Helix, Gilmore Girls, The Fall, Call the Midwife, The Bletchley Circle, Parks and Recreation, Once Upon a Time, Criminal Minds, Lost Girl, Sherlock, Law & Order, Firefly, Nikita, Revenge, The 100, The Pioneer Woman (gotta throw in a cooking show)… wow, I’ve folded a LOT of laundry!  Off to watch another episode; maybe I’ll be back around Christmas?