Friday, September 26, 2014

Park Hopping

This past weekend our family snagged an opportunity to venture out into the great outdoors. Armed with our respective cameras, we had a great time capturing the time together and enjoying each other's company. Here are a few highlights of the afternoon...
A butterfly on some wildflowers.
Beautiful children!

A little mushroom

A turtle of some kind. 

Pygmy Rattlesnake (shudder!)

Friday, September 19, 2014

Summit Summary

There's so much for me to love about this post. I adore literature. I enjoy teaching. To combine both with an enthusiastic class is pretty much the peanut butter and chocolate dream combination of my life, and I know I am blessed to have the opportunity to infect  share that love with my students!

Now that we are five weeks into it, I thought I'd share a little about what our little class has accomplished. For the skeleton of the class, I am using two texts, namely Teaching the Classics by Adam Andrews, and Windows to the World by Lesha Myers. Of course I have put my own spin on things, so I have added and/or changed a fair bit of the resources I'm using. As our focus is primarily British Literature, I've replaced writers like O'Henry (fabulous, but from the wrong side of the pond) with Saki. Since poetry is a passion of mine, I'm also including poems from a variety of British poets, both old and new. Here are the ones we've enjoyed so far:
For many of these titles, I have found them on the Poetry Foundation's website, a fabulous source for poetry as well as background information about the poems and poets who wrote them.

A large part of the initial classwork has been focused on the elements of fiction, and being able to distinguish them apart from each other. To that end, we have been using the ever-wonderful story chart as developed by Adam and Missy Andrews.
Here we have a student (my guy) pondering his options.

And another student contributing to the action!
With the lone girl in the class (it's positively packed with boys!) finishing it out with the conclusion.
To get a handle on these story elements (plot, setting, character, conflict, and theme) I've drawn on several different stories. To begin with, we are using short stories, as they are a little easier to recognize the elements taking place. Here are just a few of the stories we've used so far...
I'm looking forward to getting more involved in the longer novels. Suitably, we are starting off with Beowulf as translated by Seamus Heaney. I'm betting the boys will have a great time, there's plenty of action and battle scenes to enjoy!

Before I go, enjoy this little video of the poem, "To a Mouse." I love a good Scottish burr, and I thought it especially timely, given the vote for Scottish independence!

Wednesday, September 17, 2014


In the spare time of caring for my family, teaching my children, and volunteering in church, I knit. It's soothing to me, and I wish I had more time for it, but life impedes. Nevertheless, I keep an opportunistic eye open for those fleeting moments where a stitch or two can be completed. In this manner I've managed to finish a couple of projects and even start a new one.

First up off the needles is the lovely shawl, Zen Rain, knit for a very special person in my life, my mother-in-law. She selected the yarn from her local yarn shop, A Good Yarn, and it's a luxurious one. From the Neighborhood Fiber Co., Penthouse Silk Fingering yarn is 100% silk in a two-ply that absolutely glows with deep color saturation. She selected the colorway Rock Creek Park, which is a deep jewel-toned turquois. One ball, at 500 yards was more than enough to knit the entire shawl. Weighing in at four ounces a ball, I had approximately one ounce left over.
The ever-lovely Zen Rain Shawlette!
A close-up of the edging.
Next up off the needles is a sweet little cowl called the Serpentine Cowl. I saw a sample knitted up while on holiday visiting my sister in Colorado Springs at the Green Valley Weavers and Knitters Shop. This is a sweet little shop that sells a great deal of knitting and spinning equipment, along with looms and other fibery good things. I absolutely love visiting this shop! At any rate, I saw the sample and showed it to my sister. She loved it as well, so I picked up some yarn and cast on for a gift for her.
Finished cowl!
The yarn I used for this is Louisa Harding Yarns, Thistle. The color is number 6, a smoky sage, and it feels delightful around the neck as the yarn is 60% merino and 40% baby suri alpaca. I can't wait to package it up and ship it off, and then turn around and knit another for myself! Unfortunately for me, it took 3 balls, although I only went into the third ball by about 10 inches. I think I could have managed to do it with only two had I cast on with less of a tail. Additionally, there was an imperfection in one of the balls, and I had to cut and join, costing me extra yardage. If you decide to knit this one, I would still strongly recommend getting three balls (or maybe even four on the off chance that you could knit two out of them!) to ensure that you have enough to complete the project. 

Next up on the needles is Susie Rogers' Reading Mitts, which I am doing in Berroco Vintage DK, in color 2184, a lovely brownish purple. While this is the first time I've knit with the DK weight, I have knit a great deal of the Vintage in worsted weight. It's a fabulous yarn in an acrylic/wool/nylon blend, so it makes great gifts that are easy-care. These mitts are going to be knit for the good folks at Tom Bihn. I'm looking forward to completing them. I have two skeins, so once I finish the first set of mitts, I'm hoping to knit another up in the same yarn for me! I've only just cast-on and knit about five rows, so I don't have any photos, but I'll work as quickly as I can to get them completed and photographed!

In all other ways, life continues to be quite busy. Co-op is in full swing (more about that in another post), fall is hopefully not far away, and the kids keep growing. In other words, life is good!