Saturday, August 27, 2016

Eight things

Hello! Gosh, it's been a while since I had time to sit down and write a blog post. Life has been kind of nuts these past few weeks. Nothing bad, really, aside from the first cold of the school year (in an unwelcome twist, I was the sickest around here, pretty much laid up for about two days). We're settling into the school year and working through some changes, which has been challenging.

So what's new...the LB has graduated from his group guitar lesson after five years and is now taking private lessons with a really fantastic professional guitarist and music educator (he also took some of his group lessons under this same teacher). It's been a big change; we go to this man's house for the lesson once a week and the LB, who was used to fairly cursory practicing at home, is now required to practice at least 30 minutes a day. He did not take all that happily to this at first but is doing much better now. Miss GB continues her group guitar lessons and is back to ballet as well. Both children have had large school projects assigned immediately so we've been very busy juggling school and their activities. (I'm glad they only have one or two activities each. It's plenty. I don't think it's realistic not to do any activities, though; like everything else in life, balance is key). We've also had some major changes at school that we're getting used to.

I think everything will be just fine, but there's a lot of new stuff right now and I'm having a little trouble catching my breath. Needless to say, blogging has kind of gone out the window, both updating my own and reading others' blogs. I'm sorry about that, guys. I plan to keep blogging and will try my best to read and comment on others' blogs, because I really do love everything about the blogging life. I'm just busier than I used to be, especially at the moment.

Photography has fallen by the wayside lately too. I haven't taken many pictures lately, but as usual, I've tried to keep up with the major stuff, which is to say, the small, daily-life stuff - the kind of stuff that keeps me feeling grounded in the midst of the busy periods in life. Here are eight right-now things...

Our apples are ripened and ready to eat. I usually pick one for myself every time I go out to backyard. They're very good apples, even if they are small and often slightly blemished. I'm planning to try something new with them this fall - apple butter! I've never made it before but we love to eat it. I made jelly with our apples two years ago and it was good at first, but after only a few weeks in the jar it changed consistency and turned dark. It was unappetizing. So this year, in addition to the planned pies and crisps, as well as the inevitable applesauce and fruit leather when they get a little older, I'm going to attempt apple butter. I've been asked whether we spray our apple tree and the answer is no way! We don't use pesticides or weed killers anywhere in the yard.

I bought myself a new pair of shoes. They're just inexpensive faux-suede ballet flats but they're comfy and cute. I've never had red shoes before. These had silly little metal dangly things tied into the bows; I cut them off with a little pair of wire nippers and I like them even better now.

I also bought myself some vintage beaded necklaces from an Etsy shop called OldMemoreez. Courtney has some really cool and interesting vintage jewelry for sale. I chose these three necklaces (which are all long, by the way, each 24-30 inches), for their bright colors. The beads are plastic but they look and feel very much like old Bakelite beads; these were probably a lot less expensive but still cute and colorful.

If you follow me on Instagram (where I have also fallen off posting lately, oops), you've seen these crocheted goodies already. They're a hot dog and cheeseburger! I have one more to make, for a set of three. I'm keeping mum for now about why I'm making them, but they've been so much fun! I'll tell you more soon.

I haven't worked on my crocheted Choro top at all for weeks now. I was hoping to have it finished to wear this fall but it may not happen. Ah well, maybe for spring. I was finding it rather frustrating last I worked on it, but that's a good thing because I'm learning something new. I hope to have some progress to share soon, but in the meantime, it sits a bit forlornly on top of my sewing basket, on my desk.

I'm really enjoying homeschool with the LB lately. He's in fifth grade now and doing a lot of very interesting things. He is currently preparing a presentation on the Nineveh Flood Tablet, a clay writing about a portion of the Epic of Gilgamesh from ancient Mesopotamia; the Flood Tablet describes another version of the Biblical flood story. I've been helping him and learning a lot myself. I'm helping him with study skills too. And helping him learn to appreciate highlighters as much as I do - look at that baby, it can practically glow in the dark.

I started a new magazine subscription, to Real Simple. Have you ever read this magazine? It's so good. I'm on my second issue now. I'd gotten a really good offer (I think because I already subscribe to Martha Stewart Living). This one is full of very practical advice about so many subjects. I can always use advice. I love the style of it, pared-down and not full of glamorous models, just healthy, smart ideas for living, a magazine for grown-ups, I think.

We have had so many rainbows in the past few weeks. It's just incredible. I know I share a lot of rainbows here but they make me happy whenever we have them. And look at the bushes just right of center at the bottom of my photo - orange berries! Those are pyracanthas and the berries changing means fall is soon to be here. I can't wait. August has been a lovely month, weather-wise, though. Lots of rain and lots of rainbows, I really can't complain.


  1. Nice to hear from you! I know about busy seasons; about to go into my busiest now! Lots of deep breaths! Change takes a lot to get use to, but it sounds like you all are gaining on it.... God bless!

  2. oh, and the crocheted things are so dear! that hot dog and hamburger! :))) lots to love!!!

  3. Very nice to hear from you, Jennifer! We are also adjusting to being back in school. My daughter loves it, so that's great. I think this first week back totally kicked my butt though. Getting up earlier, packing lunch, drop off and pick up, etc. it's nice to have a routine and schedule again, though. I LOVE your new shoes! I'm looking for something flat and comfy. Where are they from? Hope you have a great week! And also a healthy week!

  4. Life can be so busy sometimes and you just do what you can!
    I love Real Simple.
    Beautiful rainbow!

  5. Ah, the joys of music practice! I used to love listening to L and E practise, but fitting it in around all the homework was sometimes a bit of a challenge. Love your new shoes; one of my favourite pairs is red too - they always make me feel a bit like Dorothy! Enjoy the new term. xx

  6. i wondered where you had gone to - so happy you are feeling better. the first colds of the season can be gruesome. we dont use pesticides and weedkiller either - and when we do its a concoction we brew up in the kitchen - so its all natural! im a rainbow gazer too.
    all the best for the new school year ahead - it sounds like you have it all under control!

  7. Glad you are all settling into your new routine and that your cold is better. Your new shoes are lovely....such a pretty and cheery shade. And a lovely!
    i hope you all enjoy the new school year Jennifer.
    Helen xox

  8. I always thought that life would be quieter as the children got older but that just isn't so, even now they're both wanting help with one thing or another but I'm not complaining, we'll be all on our lonesome in four weeks when Eleanor heads off to uni. The LB must be getting very good on his guitar now, I think it's lovely for them to learn a musical instrument. My two dabbled but the novelty wore off.

  9. I love the rainbows, and how wonderful you have so many. We might see 2 in a year at our house. Your little bear will always appreciate his guitar lessons, and practice will become an enjoyable habit. It must be so sweet to your ears - I always loved my kids music prac, bad notes and all :) Your red shoes are the cutest, and the new beads just what I like too. Happy days Jennifer.

  10. Ahhh, the joys of children sharing their germs when school restarts! Glad you're feeling better now, Jennifer. Red shoes are the best kind. I wonder if that's because, when we're small, we're told we can't have them because they're not practical? Now I'm an adult - allegedly! LOL - I don't buy shoes for practical reasons! :oD

  11. Hello dear Jennifer! I love your eight things. Even though you're busy you take time to notice things. I love that.
    Guitar lessons and guitar playing are so important. I hope LB carries on and becomes a wonderful guitarist.
    Ballet. LOVE.
    Take care, good mama.

  12. Take good care of yourself Jennifer during these more stressful times. The older your kids get the busier they are, and therefore you are too! That is sometimes very hard.

  13. Wow, it sounds busy! I hope you're adjusting ok to the changes. Go easy on yours - I realise that's hard when your days are so packed full. I really like the look of that magazine, I'd enjoy reading it I think. X

  14. I never thought of how much you could learn by doing home-schooling! The color you picked for your sweater really is gorgeous. I guess you've had all the rain.. it's been hot here for this month. ((hugs)), Teresa :-)

  15. Hi Jennifer, I enjoyed reading your round-up. The very beginning of a new school year is always a bit of a shock to the system I seem to remember. Good to see you fortifying your system with home-grown apples; I've been doing the same.

  16. So glad all is well with you Jennifer. We understand business and will be here when you have time to visit us. Love your red shoes, beads and crochet especially. I hope the school years settles in and becomes less stressful you very soon.

  17. Always love reading what you're up to - and goodness knows, life with kids is always busy! Will be interesting to hear what your plan is with the crocheted hot dog and hamburger. ;-)
    Love Real Simple magazine. Have subscribed to it for years.
    Never get tired of seeing your rainbow photos - they're beautiful. We don't see too many rainbows here.

  18. Thanks for checking in, is good to know you are happily busy...except for the cold. I have looked at Real Simple and enjoyed issues here and there and can imagine you will enjoy your subscription. You are having highlighter fun learning with LB and enjoying the natural highlights of rainbows and changing seasons around you! It is fun to see your creative stitching in the midst of you new routine. I got to attend an all day watercolor workshop yesterday and was glad to learn more about the qualities of light in a sphere among other things. We made stars in our night skies by using salt on our wet painting. May you and yours be well! xx ps. I have been looking at some inexpensive red shoes, and can imagine your feet being happy in your pretty red shoes :)

  19. Apple Butter sounds delishous, I have never heard of it before, please show us on here when you have made it. I love those red shoes and bright beads, very cheerful :) My eldest is back to school next week and I have so enjoyed this time of rest and relaxation. I love the hotdog and cheeseburger makes. I have always wanted to make various food items for my youngest to play with. I adore rainbow pictures too, well done for capturing one on a photo.

  20. Busy busy in your family but lots of fun things happening x

  21. It does sound busy, but in a good way. School starts next week here. I've enjoyed the quieter pace of summer. Hope the cold is all behind you x


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