Wednesday, September 30, 2009


I've been busy freezing, canning, and otherwise preserving the bounty of our garden. I've frozen blueberries, raspberries, corn, grated zucchini, and the baked goods that resulted of grated zucchini such as chocolate zucchini muffins and zucchini bread. I've pickled jalapenos and green beans. Now, its tomato time! I started with raw-pack tomatoes because there isn't a recipe involved and I could work with the small quantities as they were ripening. Since then, I have also made a batch of salsa. This is what I brought home today:


I plan to make tomato sauce out of these this weekend. I actually had to go buy a case of new canning jars because I ran out. Normally I stock up at the thrift stores when it isn't canning time, because i get them for about 10 cents each. It has been years since I had to buy new jars.

There are still a LOT of tomatoes on the vine, so I need to decide what to make with them next.

Monday, September 28, 2009

A tomato

I pulled this tomato out of my garden today...
I can't stop giggling every time I see it. Am I really that immature?


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Our Homeschool

Last year I made the decision to try homeschooling my son, Ethan. Though he was only 4, I decided to start introducing kindergarten age concepts and consider it a "trial run." I didn't use a formal curriculum, just worked from various books to introduce developmentally-appropriate material to him. If our "trial" failed miserably, he was still young enough to start kindergarten in public school next fall. If it was successful, I wanted to be ready to jump in with both feet and be prepared to educate my son. He soaked up EVERYTHING I introduced to him and loved doing workbook pages and playing with math manipulatives.

I started doing research on various homeschool methods and my local homeschooling laws. I found myself drawn to The Well-Trained Mind by Jessie Wise and Susan Wise Bauer and after checking out from our local library a third time, I realized I had to buy it. The classical style of education (or trivium) made a lot of sense to me as it is history centered and more or less chronological, on a four-year cycle. I have a bachelor's degree in history and found it very disconcerting when I realized that Charles Darwin and Abraham Lincoln were not only contemporaries, but born on the exact same DAY. I was taught history in a disjointed, disconnected, very US-centric way, that I had no idea what else was going on in the world during the US Civil War.

Ethan was catching on to kindergarten concepts so well, I decided we'd jump right into a first-grade curriculum this fall. For our first "formal" year, I chose to closely follow the suggestions outlined in The Well-Trained Mind. It is sort of my safety net or the foundation of our homeschool.

For "core" subjects, I've stuck with the suggestions in the book and/or using books the authors created such as First Language Lessons for the Well-Trained Mind for grammar, Writing With Ease Workbook for writing, Spelling Workout, and Story of the World. For math, we chose Saxon. I had to research a variety of math programs before choosing this one. We like it, though whether or not we'll use it in future years, I haven't decided yet.

I used the book suggestions for a science curriculum, combining animal study, human body, and plants, but to add in some hands on we're working our way through The Usborne Big Book of Experiments. Ethan LOVES the experiments because he thinks they're fun and I like that they take very little prep work and use mostly common household items (which also makes them a bit safer).

I've taken some of their suggestions a step further, using Harmony Fine Arts for our art and part of our music. I'm supplementing that with G Major Music Theory to teach music theory and piano basics.

We do a lot of reading. Ethan has quiet reading time and we read together a lot. Trips to our library are a weekly event. I choose nonfiction books that correspond with our studies for the week and he chooses fiction stories for his quiet reading time. We're working our way through the "Little House" series together and enjoying them a lot too. I love to see him enjoying reading and picking up books without prompting.

That pretty much covers our homeschool for this year. We started "full time" on the 8th and are getting into the groove. We ran out of time for his math lesson on Friday, and he reminded me on Saturday that we needed to do it!

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Depot Arts Center

For the month of September, I've been asked to be a guest artist for the Dewey Beach Artists Fall Collection. at the Depot Arts Center in Anacortes.

I chose five pieces, two of which I made specifically for this show, to represent my work. At the opening last night, I got to see the very talented company I was in and felt honored to be included in this group of artists.

Here are two of the pieces I knit for the show:
Silk beaded bag
Beaded silk bag with Japanese seed beads.
Wavelength scarf
Crocheted Scarf

Here are some examples of the work produced by other artists in the collection(I got a little artsy with the photos):
Woven scarves by Laure Brooks
Bamboo Scarves
Raku pottery by Pat Ball:
"The World In Black and White"
Turned vase by Jerry Holmes:
Maple Vase
Steel salmon by John Sayre:

The bag and scarf are #29 & #30 for the 52-craft challenge. Once I finished knitting for the show, I lost the desire to knit for a little while. I am back at it now and hopefully will be catching up. The weather has definitely turned fall-like, which means less gardening and more knitting, sewing, and scrapbooking(I hope!)

Friday, September 4, 2009


I've been a scrapbooker for many years now. I really got into it when Ethan was born... I made small books for all the grandparents and great-grandparents chronicling his first year. Since then, I've done the occasional layout here and there, but found it difficult to have to put everything away half way through, just so the kid wouldn't get into it or so we could eat dinner.

Rolltop deskRolltop desk
I finally have a dedicated scrapbooking "corner" of my living room. Actually, it is an antique roll-top desk my mom gave me. It is perfect because I can just close the top when I'm done for the day, and not have to put all my stuff away. I actually got some scrapbooking done! The desk still is in need of some organization, but it is coming along nicely.

The layouts I finished are coming in at #26 and #27 in the 52 craft challenge. I know it sounds like I am WAY behind, but I have a few other finished projects that I just haven't posted yet.
Picture 002edit
Way back in 1993, when I was a senior in high school, I traveled to France with some class mates for spring break. Now, more than 15 years later, I finally get around to organizing and displaying the photos and things I brought home with me.

Knitting-wise, I did finish this cute little guy:
He is #28 in the 52 craft challenge.

The show at the Depot Arts Center opens tonight and I have 5 pieces on display. Now that I don't feel like I have to keep those projects under wraps, I'll photograph them and share them soon.