Friday, October 31, 2014

Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Katie sings.

I asked Katie to clean up the play-doh.  She told me "There's a song for that."

Monday, October 27, 2014

Anna plays piano

This week- just some video snapshots of what life is like these days.  Anna first.


Friday, October 24, 2014

Watching stuff

That weekend when I was sick we found some fun things to watch together as a family.  Or at least things that I like watching and Anna likes watching and Matthew tolerates and Katie likes anything on TV and Jimmy likes to snuggle so he's happy.

House Hunters International is on Netflix now and has fun insights into what daily life is like in different countries.  Language teachers refer to that as "small 'c' culture", and it's one of my favorite things.  Did you know that in Germany, people move with their kitchens?  So it was hard for the girl teaching English to find an apartment to rent that came with a fridge and oven!  And in Denmark, you bring your own light fixtures to a house!  We all enjoyed it.

The day I was home sick I watched hours and hours of Flea Market Flip.  Anna loves it too.  Teams buy things at flea markets, and then work with a team of craftsmen in a big shop to make them over into wonderful things, and then they sell them at another flea market to see who can make the biggest profit.  It's really fun and inspiring.

We've been having "Movie Night" on Friday nights, but I need some recommendations for movies.  We really can't tolerate scary things around here-last week we watched the first 3 minutes of "Tarzan" and then switched it off and tried "The Great Mouse Detective" and then happily landed on "The Tigger Movie".  We like clean and happy and easy and funny.  We are, apparently, not the general market.  Any tips?  I have free Redbox codes from McDonalds right now so it could even be a newer movie!  But really, we need some help.

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Food Success

I've been thinking on my meal success in September, and trying to figure it out so I can replicate it and here's what I've come up with so far:

  • In September MJL is busy, but he's cleaning seed and stuff and so he can come in for dinner.  I am about a zillion times more likely to make food for him if he can come in and eat it with us.  
  •  I didn't have ANYTHING on the list that required a recipe really, or anything new, or anything on any level that is fancy or different.  Only "regular" food that is easy to make and quick.  
  • Sometimes I let the kiddos watch a show while I was fixing dinner.  
  • I made my menu weekly, and made the shopping list, and one of us actually went to the store.  
  • I cleaned and reorganized the fridge, pantry, and freezers in a nesting frenzy, so I actually know what we have and can find it.  

Now we're into October, and it's totally different, but I'm figuring that out too (I've only been married to a farmer for 15 years, so it makes sense that I'm JUST NOW figuring out how to eat during the different seasons, right?)
  •  In October there is a lot of driving meals around and driving farmers around and I should NOT try to eat dinners at the table.  I should plan to feed everyone things they can eat on the go.  
  • Hot sandwiches are easy!  I can fix a bunch at once, and then heat them all up together while I'm filling up the rest of the stuff in the bags, and then each kiddo gets a bag and there are bags for the farmers and we're off.  
  • My meal planning should reflect the reality of life for whatever season we're in.  I should only plan portable meals during Fall Harvest, instead of planning regular meals and then getting frustrated.  
  • Check the day old bread for rolls for sandwiches and sometimes the lunch meat gets marked down too!   
  •  Wrap hot sandwiches in foil.

So now I need some more hot sandwich ideas!  Anyone have anything good?

Monday, October 20, 2014


I took the kiddos to Wal-Mart on Friday and as I walked back to the van I noticed that I was parked funny.  I guessed that the person next to me had been parked funny when I got there and now they were gone and that was the problem.  We had actually had a pretty good trip to the store and I got everyone buckled and drove away smiling and then on the road I noticed this sign under my windshield wiper.

It actually made me laugh, and then I felt a little bad because clearly that wasn't the reaction the writer was going for, and then I felt really bad because that is a LOT of effort to go to for negativity!  I can't imagine actually getting a pen and a bit of paper and writing on it, and putting it under the wiper, and then how yicky the person must feel for the rest of the day.  Very sad.  It reminded me that it's so so true that we find what we look for, and that it is important to be careful what I am investing my energy in.  Anyway-I'm sorry, person who was having a bad day.  I probably am a terrible parker.  I'll try to do better.  Or at least return to parking far away soon when walking is a bit easier.  :P

We've had our van Snowball for almost three months now, and I've discovered that the reason people have those little families on the back of their vans is that there are SO. MANY. VANS.  I'm not good at picking ours out of the crowd.

Matthew can make me a sticker to put in the back window, whatever I want.  That's daunting.  I keep thinking words-because I like words, but it's hard to think of a quote that I will love forever, and that will be short enough not to cause anyone to be distracted, and that will make me smile when I see it.

At first I thought "Peace begins with a smile"  but I've changed my mind about that one already and it's not even on the van.

So-any help?

Friday, October 17, 2014

Meandering Thoughts

A month or so ago, on one of those buzz feed quizzes I got sucked into in a moment of weakness, I was asked the question "Do you look at the sky when you feel happy or sad?"  I suppose it was just the sort of question to find out what you default to if you don't know the answer-I chose happy- but I've been thinking and thinking about it.  I haven't come to any sort of answer-but I did notice that I can't help looking at the sky without taking a deep breath. (I also tend to wonder if this is the day that something will happen that will change everything forever-not in a worried way, just a curious one-I've noticed I think that when looking at the sky.  That's normal, right?)

That led me into thinking about what else there is in the world that has the same lovely deep breath effect.  What things are there in the world that can't help but relax me?  (I think I had 20 minutes alone in the car or something-generally seems to be the only time I have time to think along rabbit trails).

I've tried to think of something for each of the five senses.

Sight:  The sky-clear or stormy, blue or gray, it's so nice and big and naturally calming and I would say "centering" except that sounds so blegh and barfy.  But the sky reminds you that you are so very small, which is as it should be.

Sound:  Arvo Part-Spiegel im Spiegel

I play it in the kitchen when things threaten to overwhelm me, and it always helps.  I know it's strange and so minimalist, but I love it.  It helps me to breathe just like the sky.

Taste:  I feel silly-but I honestly think a grape sno cone!  I think about eating a grape sno cone, and I know with the first bite there's a nice deep relaxing breath.  I don't think I could be stressed while eating that.

Touch:  I had a hard time thinking of this one at first-for the kiddos I think their blankies do the trick, and I do love my bear Zaca, but it didn't seem quite right.  Then I thought of water.  Swimming in the summer and baths in the winter.  When I can get myself into water everything gets better.

Smell: This one was the hardest, perhaps because I don't smell so well.  But I think rain, or lilacs in the Spring, or when the corn is pollinating.  I think it's the corn.  I know there's a farm smell sometime that makes me feel very happy and alive.

So what about you?  I really enjoyed this little game-and I'm so curious about what other people think!

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Bossy Betsy: Pride and Prejudice

We have been watching the BBC Pride and Prejudice with Grammy Joan this past month.  It's the 6 hour miniseries, and EVERY time I watch it, I am reminded that it is the best thing I've ever seen.  Have you watched it?  It's hilarious and wonderful and touching and clever and romantic and sweet.  I've probably seen it 5 times and it never gets old.

I found this trailer, but really, you just need to find it and watch it.  Surely your library has it?  Or maybe you need to borrow my copy, but you'll have to give it back.  :)

Bossy Betsy knows best.

Monday, October 13, 2014

Lonely I, and a pop quiz

And then here we are at "I", with only about 10 books!

This one was funny.  A story about a pig who loves chocolate and goes to the park.  

That's it for I!

Here's another edition of "Could you be an elementary librarian?"

I got this email from a teacher--

"Can you pull the Polacco one about the class of special needs and the one boy dies at the end?"

This one is harder, I think.  It's a newer book.  

Friday, October 10, 2014

So many H's!

One funny thing about reading all of the books in alphabetical order is that you notice things like "lots of authors have H last names"

This one is about an ocean storm.  It's simple and powerful and conveys a world totally different from what our kids know, in a way that is easy to relate to.  

Another about the ocean-a fun book about Horseshoe crabs.

This one follows bunches of families as they go about their morning on a very important day--at the end they all become American citizens.  It's lovely.  

I am often tempted to skip the 1st grade easy readers.  I can see why Mo Willems has a lock on this category-his books are simple AND funny and interesting.  But this one was surprisingly good!  We have a few Pup and Hound books, I'll need to feature them for the 1st graders.  

Who doesn't love a good Christmas story?

Kevin Henkes is wonderful and I love ALL of his books.  This one was new to me.  So nice.  

Pat Hutchins has several books too, and I liked them, this one was the best.  Fun and easy to decode because the boy keeps mixing up the list, a bit at a time, so there are many hints for the reader.  

A new fairy tale!  I hadn't read anything like this one.  

James Herriot is one of my favorite adult authors.  I was excited to find these picture books-which have nice high vocabulary and pretty illustrations in a smaller package-will be good for my animal kids who are daunted by a chapter book but who need to move into something a bit tougher.  And for the younger kids who are ready for more but are still young.  

I love an immigrant story.  

Farm helping and working together and caring for the land.  

This one appeals to my use it up sensibilities.  A great lesson in what it used to take to survive, and how to thrive in it.  

A fun and inspiring book-I think that kids would want to play with paper after reading it, and it has some great vocabulary to talk about.  

Another good easy reader!  A sweet family book.  

A Christmas story to make you cry.  

Kids love this book about an exceptionally patient mother, and when I started asking them why-that was their answer!  "Because of how the Mom is".  I guess they would like us to be that patient and perfect.  ;)

Wednesday, October 08, 2014

On to the G's!

I picked two by this author-she writes nice historical fiction, one of my favorite kinds of picture books because they sneak in some history and culture.  This one is about a black soldier after the Civil War. 

A fun progressive chain reaction story.  

We have this one at home, it's one of my favorites and actually changed my attitude about spiders!

An adorable story about a sock and mitten and their true friendship.  

I know I cry easily these days-but this one about a sweet little girl "helping" her neighbor was lovely. 

Just funny.  

Another Sherry Garland-this one about leaving Vietnam and coming to the USA.

A fun fairy tale.

I adore this one.  The parents are tattooed and unconventional and they live in the city and there's just something very real and sweet about it.  

Monday, October 06, 2014

Best of the F's

This semester I'm reading picture books F-L

Did you know the author of Corduroy wrote other books?  So cute, all of them.  This one reminded me of a certain redheaded cousin.  

A sweet sweet story about WWII and giving and sharing and being thankful.  

I liked this one about a grandmother and love and loss and things turning out right.

A great story about being who you are. 

I was so excited to get to this one!  It checks out all the time-and the kids are right, it's a fun story.   

Made me cry.  About farm auctions during the Great Depression.  

I love picture books.  


BOOK IT! Alums get a free Personal Pan Pizza.  Now, as someone who has extremely fond memories of buttons with little stickers and the stunning joy of getting your very own very extravagant pizza, I signed up right away.  I assume you'll want to do the same.  Expires 10/10/14 (that's very soon!)


Friday, October 03, 2014

Ingleside 9/25/14

Jimmy plays in this dirt ALL. THE. TIME.  And then the vacuum quit but I fixed it myself!  Take that, Fall Harvest.  

Matthew got an amp!  New strategy for bedtime (on those days when he's here-gone now for a month or so) is to have him play guitar when we put the girls in bed because then it's too loud for them to talk to each other and Katie gets bored and falls asleep!  

September Mantle.  It is my goal to leave this up until Christmas time.  It will be hard.

Jimmy got up in the morning and told me sadly "Mine. pillow. broken."

Some mornings he gets up early and makes me breakfast and brings it proudly into the bathroom while I'm getting ready.  

I'm so into making cookies with bacon grease!  They're yummy and you know my favorite thing in the world is to make things out of trash.  This feels kind of like that.  All of a sudden cookies feel thrifty.  

Grazie at 34 weeks.

This calendar represents the most successful meal making in 7 years.  Or ever.  I did a great job feeding everyone this month.  I need to figure out why...

The Bible project I keep talking about.  Reading aloud and recording Jimmy's Bible so the kids can play it and follow along.  Books on tape are the best.  I've enlisted MJL's help and we're about 1/3 of the way through.