Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Big Cookie Delivery

73 boxes of cookies

delivered to a shelter.

With a huge thanks to everyone who bought a box or 2 (or 10) for the express purpose of our delivering them to the shelter. The cookies are a great treat for the people there -- the food pantry at the shelter is full of mac and cheese, soup, canned vegetables, canned meat -- "real" food -- but sometimes it's nice to have a snack that the rest of us take for granted.

Monday, March 30, 2009


Thalia is writing an autobiography for a Girl Scout project. Sometimes we can't remember when things happened, so we have to look through old photos. (Well, actually old iPhoto files that need to be better organized.)

We can now confirm that she was taking baton lessons in 2002. Check it out -- hairpiece, tiara, and sparkly outfit! Surely a sign of things to come with the wigs and bling of Irish Dance.

AnnaBeth didn't have the sparkles and fake hair back then, but she knew how to work a look.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Friday, March 27, 2009

Weekly Report -- March 27

In the past 2 weeks we've:

Continued reading Children of the New Forest (we've started keeping a tally of every time the author uses some for of the word "perceive").

Had to return Theras and His Town to the library because someone else needed it, heaven forbid. We've made it up to "Sparta", and will place a hold on another copy.

Read more about Famous Men of Greece.

Watched a really cool DVD: Me and Isaac Newton. I had read about it onHornblower's blog.

Thalia has continued work in Prentice-Hall Science Explorers, and in The Teaching Company Algebra 1. Also, she continues to speed towards the end of Latin for Children B.

AnnaBeth worked on multiplication table memorization in RightStart D, as well as more study of place value.

Thalia helped AnnaBeth memorize her lines for a musical she will be in during April.

Read lots of other books.

Went to lots of Irish Dance performances.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Random Dance Photos

Mostly because Kitten asked. Also, they were dancing outside on a sunny day, so my photos were less bad/actually look as though humans are in the photo somewhere.

If I manage to get a picture BEFORE a performance, I can usually get a smile (in contrast to, say, this shot after the parade

And usually while on stage we get smiles.

You'll never guess where we were today. Or what they serve there.

(Note the large bandage on the left knee. It looks really gross under there, believe me.)

Work in Progress Wednesday

First up, my interpretation of the Poonam baby sweater. I say "my interpretation" because the pattern is a little loosey-goosey -- if you want everything all laid out for you explicitly and correctly, this probably isn't the pattern for you. On the other hand, it's a free pattern.

I'm knitting it in Knit Picks Shine Sport, which is a cotton yarn. Very soft. Also, no spring, and fairly slick, so it keeps sliding off the needles (which seems to be the story of my knitting lately). I think I'm making the newborn - 3 months size, but don't remember, and would need to go contemplate the pattern to figure it out. I figure babies come in their own sizes, so baby sweater sizes are a little ... iffy.

Also, fabric Thalia purchased to make a couple of skirts for herself:

I think the bottom 2 are going to be used together, and the top will be used with something else that hasn't yet been purchased, but I could be wrong -- I'm not always privy to her inner vision.

And after snapping these 2 photos I noticed that my camera battery is low, so no other work-in-progress pictures to show at the moment. I need to recharge the battery before our next dance performance, which is later today. Although we may be down to one dancer in this house, due to an incident yesterday involving a scooter, some concrete, and various limbs ....

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

In Which Things Are Not What They Seem

We're supposed to go to Barnes-Jewish Hospital for a show this morning. SInce I've never been to the place before, I clicked on the hospital website's link to map our trip, which took me to a MoDOT (Missouri Dept. of Transportation) travel site. I dutifully filled in my address -- it already had the hospital address as the destination. And discovered that the hospital is over 800 miles from my house.

Because apparently we live in Lake Ontario.

At least, as far as MoDOT can tell, that's where we are.

So we must be going through some rift in the space-time continuum every time we leave the house, because I could swear we live in the St. Louis metro region. Eery, isn't it? I mean, I look out the window, and I see rolling hills, flora, and fauna like you'd expect in Missouri, but we're actually on a lake in the northeast.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Gotta Dance

A little boy arrived to dance in Saturday night's show. And his mom said, "I'm not quite sure why we're here. He's only taken lessons for a few weeks. But the teacher said we should come."

And I said, "Really, if he gets up and moves around a little AT ALL, people will love him."

So he went out for the first dance that the beginners do ... he was flanked by 2 more experienced dancers who were saying the steps to him as they all danced (one of the dancers was AnnaBeth).

(Give me somebody to dance with. Give me a place to fit in. Help me return to the world of the living by showing me how to begin.)

And, folks, he found his calling in life! (God I'm a dancer, a dancer dances!)

As soon as he came off stage he was ready to go back out. In spite of reassurances from the other dancers that he didn't actually know the dances they were performing. He kept lining up with them, ready to go out and dance again.

(Put me to work, you would think that by now I'm allowed. I'll do you proud!)

During Blackbird -- a traditional set taught at our school after a couple of years -- he was in the wings saying, "I know this one! I'm remembering it while I watch them!"

(Give me the chance to look forward to saying, "Hey, listen they're playing my song.")

Finally, the person in charge sent him back out with one of the big girls, K. And he got to dance a solo.

And he danced and he danced and he danced. Front-back-front front-back-front front-back-front, a look of sheer determination on his face ... he'd still be dancing if they'd let him. K eventually grabbed him and led him in a bow.

The audience LOVED HIM! Of course.

Play me the music. Give me the chance to come through. All I ever needed was the music, and the mirror, and the chance to dance for you.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

St. Patrick's Day Parade

Which isn't really on St. Patrick's Day, but was earlier today.

Our float was a castle. The kids on it danced for the entire parade.

The weather was okay -- sunny, and I think in the 50s. Turtlenecks and skater tights made the outfit warm enough.

Who would've thought that by now each of our girls would have an entire wardrobe of wigs, and could therefore use the scrubbiest ones for a parade?

By the end of the parade, one of us was really, really cranky about taking out the headband RIGHT NOW I don't want to wait for a picture! Can you guess who?

We didn't go to the after-parade performance (shh, don't tell anyone). We have another to go to this evening, though. And tomorrow.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Weekly Report -- March 13

We've been puttering along all week. It seemed like a good week to sort of lay low -- people were acting a little crazy this week, don't you think? -- so that's what we did.

We continue to read aloud Children of the New Forest. The author, Marryat, continues to favor the word "perceive". This week also revealed that some of the odd turns of phrase we've encountered are possibly typos. We're reading a copy from the library, but I assume the Project Gutenberg text is much the same.

We finished reading Half Magic. And began reading Theras and His Town. Thalia had read this a couple of years ago while doing Sonlight Core 6 (which we got partway through and then fizzled out of), so we're using the reading notes from Sonlight. Actually, I think this may be the point at which we fizzled. In any event, we've discovered that 1) we've lost all the marking pens for the markable map, and 2) the last time we used the markable map was several years ago when AnnaBeth was doing Sonlight K, as we had marked where Mary on Horseback took place, as well as some of the places Johnny Appleseed had roamed.

In math AnnaBeth continued to work on multiplication tables, using money and the clock to work on the 5s. Wow, I can't believe how many typos are in this book!. It's an earlier edition of level D, which Thalia also used years ago. How did I stand it? Yeesh, it's driving me nuts this time around. Thalia continues to watch the Teaching Company Algebra 1 DVDs, which continues to give minute detail about graphing. I stopped paying attention; I just couldn't take it anymore. But she wants to continue with this.

AnnaBeth has made it to Chapter 5 of Latin for Children A, which is a vocabulary review. And Thalia is even nearer to finishing Latin for Children B. I ordered Latin Alive 1 from Classical Academic Press earlier in the week, and it has already arrived. I think I'll start on it right now -- I can't take another day of Henle, reading about the Gauls and Caeser, and the swords and bodies in the river. Thalia will start when she finishes LfC B.

Thalia has now complete Season 2 of Analytical Grammar! Woohoo! She'll take a break from it for a few weeks before plunging into Season 3.

Thalia learned about conducting safe science experiments in Prentice Hall Science Explorers. And AnnaBeth learned about bones using our various grammar stage science resources.

Thalia worked on the King James version of the Prodigal Son for Classical Writing Homer, during which we learned that "-eth" was a third person conjugation. Also, I realized that if Thalia wrote a sentence like some of those in KJV, I'd tell her to edit. Much of CW left us laughing this week; in retrospect, I can't recall why, other than sheer silliness.

AnnaBeth continued to use Famous Men of Greece for Writing With Ease-style assignments, this week narrating about the labors of Hercules and also the origin of the Golden Fleece.

Thalia worked on part of a Cadette Interest Project that will go towards her Silver Award -- A World of Understanding -- looking up information on Burma.

Overall, a quiet week in which we did our work and then moved on.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Weekly Report -- March 6

It's currently 81F, and we've ditched the idea of going ice skating this afternoon because we're too busy opening all of the windows, pumping up bike tires, and trying to find our flip-flops.

Also, the idea of a long, detailed report on school this week? It's been swept away in a rush of spring fever.

So, here's the short version:


AnnaBeth continues to work on multiplication tables and on multi-digit subtraction. RightStart D continues to go on and on about check numbers. I continue to find them pointless.

Thalia continues to watch the Teaching Company Algebra DVDs and do the accompanying workbook problems. Earlier this week I sat down to watch the DVD with her and fell asleep on the couch; this should give you some idea of how gripping these DVDs are. KathyJo emailed a question about Algebra, causing me to brood about what we're doing (it doesn't take much to get me started brooding about curriculum), and I'm ready to chuck the whole thing out the window and try Jacob's.


Thalia finished up her Classical Writing Homer assignment earlier in the week, and we were going to plunge into the next one, moving along at 2 lessons per 3 weeks. Except somehow we got sidetracked -- something about delivering Girl Scout cookies or doing an Irish Dance show or talking to people about re-doing the kitchen, most likely.

AnnaBeth continued to do Writing With Ease-style assignments using Story of the Greeks and Famous Men of Greece. I continue to feel smug about bundling history and writing together. Thalia listens to the read alouds from these books, by the way, and is included in our discussions.


Thalia is learning about subordinate clauses in Analytical Grammar Season 2.


Thalia worked on 3rd declension nouns, and infinitives of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd conjugations.

AnnaBeth continued to practice 1st declension.


AnnaBeth read about hair. Thalia read about how to make graphs, which is exactly what she was learning last week in math, except in math it was using a graphing calculator.

Other Stuff

AnnaBeth is reading the first Harry Potter book. She's also been assigned a part in the musical her choir is doing this spring.

Thalia read all of the Artemis Fowl books, and learned that Eoin is pronounced Owen.

We went to Scouts. And piano.

We read aloud from Children of the New Forest (I hope to figure out Roundheads vs. not-Roundheads by the end of the book) and Half Magic. We're reading Half Magic because the author, Edward Eager, liked reading E. Nesbit and we just finished reading the Nesbit's Psammead trilogy, which we started reading because there was an excerpt from the first volume in Writing With Ease -- that's about 3 months of read alouds prompted by a few paragraphs in Writing With Ease. And that's why we don't use the WWE workbooks, folks -- we'd have to read every book of every series that's used as an example in the workbook, not to mention the spinoffs. Frightening to think about.

And now I need to go look for popsicles in the freezer.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Work in Progress Wednesday

Hot off the needles, Leyburn Socks (link is a PDF file) in Socks That Rock mediumweight, colorway Puck's Mischief, size 1/2.25mm needles.

I love the colors. I like STR yarn -- it doesn't leave me with itchy ankles at the end of the day. I like the pattern.

Very snug through the ankle, even though I left those strands extremely loose. A little hard to get on over my heel, but no worry about them sagging. I wonder if they'll loosen up over time.

In reality, I typically wear very plain socks, like plain black or plain white or plain tan.
Also, I can't sit and stare at the pretty colors, since they're all the way down at my feet, mostly hidden by my pants. I should've used this yarn for something I could look at.

Also on the needles: a baby kimono. So far only 2 rows garter stitch, so not much to look at.

Also working on: Figuring out camps for the summer. Today is the day to have your Girl Scout camp choices postmarked. Thalia has been campaigning hard for a 2 week Girl Scout horse camp (why oh why does she keep picking such expensive things to be interested in?). Plus we just figured out that the Indianapolis feis is a different weekend this year, which means the June calendar is garbled up now.

Monday, March 2, 2009


Talia from Knitty.com, knit in KnitPicks Andean Silk, a blend of alpaca, merino, and silk, on size 9 needles.

(No clue why there's a shadow on the upper corner of the photos.)

A fairly quick, simple knit. At 10pm on Feb.28th I was within a few rows of finishing the final band around the armhole; after that it was a matter of weaving in that final end (I'd been weaving in the ends as I went), sewing on the buttons, and doing a quick block. And I decided to go to bed instead -- it just wasn't worth staying up so I could say I finished it by the end of February.

Interestingly enough, I had a 2 hour meeting on Thursday the 26th -- I had taken the vest along, planning to knit on it during the meeting, but I forgot to take the pattern along. If I'd been able to knit it for those 2 hours I would've completed it by the end of the month.

Overall, I think the length is just precisely wrong on me -- it puts a whoppin' big piece of bulky lace right on the widest part of my bottom, plus it makes my legs look short. My legs are already short since I'm short all over, but this just emphasizes the fact. Maybe it will be better with black pants.

The yarn is wonderfully silky soft, and surprisingly warm, sort of like our black cat:

But check out that ledge and other bulges at the back of my waist! Yikes -- I hate it when that happens. I think it's a combination of the positive ease around the waist, a bit of negative ease around the hips, and the slipperiness of the yarn, all coming together to pouch out at the garter stitch bands.

So, sort of a tepid overall knitting experience. Some good points, some bad points.

But no time to brood -- there are too many other projects waiting for attention. Plus it's March, which means St. Patrick's Day, which means more Irish Dance performances than you really want to hear about.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Weekend Recap

Saturday morning Thalia had a service project of making fleece blankets starting at 10am. I dropped her off for that with the warning that I'd be picking her up early (it was supposed to last until 1pm, but I figured they'd be done by noon).

Then AnnaBeth and I finished up organizing the first street's worth of Girl Scout cookie deliveries

and started taking them out for delivery (this involves having all boxes labelled, thank you note attached, note for how much owed, separate paper list of every street number we need to stop at on the street -- if we could just attach tracking barcodes we could be UPS). That chair is one street's worth. I've been amassing those paper bags for the past year -- perfect for packing 3-4 boxes. Rick arrived home from his various errands, I picked up Thalia (they were done with all the bolts of fleece, as I predicted), we all had a quick lunch, then Thalia, AnnaBeth and I delivered another couple of streets' worth of cookies. Then home to reload, and Rick took them out for the next run.

Which had to end early because I had to take Thalia to the archery range. My plan was to spend the time at the range finishing my Vest-uary vest, but I'd forgotten that it was Partner Shoot night. Oops.

So, I shot arrows instead. And, frankly, when it comes to archery I'm a pretty good knitter. Really. I discovered that I can't shoot Thalia's bow because I'm not strong enough. How embarrassing -- not only is she bigger than me, but she's stronger, too. I did manage to hit the target several times, and I think I even scored an 8 ... this was at the 10 yard line, by the way, after they gave me a lighter bow that was easier to shoot. When it came to the balloons, though, I was a mess. If my life depended on being able to being able to pop balloons that were hung against the wall using a bow and arrow, I'd be dead.

Thalia, of course, did just fine at the 20 yard line.

See those tiny targets? I managed to hit one! And it was even the one I was aiming for! But I was at half the distance these people (that's Thalia in the center) are shooting from. If you squint you can see the white floor quivers lined up closer to the targets -- that's where I was standing. Also, those are the targets usually used for compound bows -- recurves get a bigger target during class.

Afterwards home, supper, then Rick revealed that he had bought a DVD -- HIgh School Musical 3! AnnaBeth was screaming and jumping up and down in excitement. We settled in to watch it, I settled in to finally finish knitting my vest .... At 10pm I was close to done, and decided I didn't want to stay up any longer.

Sunday was church, Sunday School, home for a quick lunch (we had cooked a boneless turkey breast Saturday night while watching the movie), then back out to deliver more cookies for about an hour. Then back to church for confirmation class and choirs -- a three hour extravaganza during which I finished up my knitting, read a book, and listened to AnnaBeth reciting all the books of the Bible (she's decided she needs to memorize this this week). Home, supper (chili cooking in the crockpot while we were gone), sew buttons on the vest, laundry.

I think we've delivered enough cookies/collected enough money that we can turn in AnnaBeth's money this Thursday (when our cookie manager for that troop has decided she needs the money -- a breathtakingly quick turn around time of one week, during which we have about a bazillion other commitments). Thalia's troop is much more laid back, and we can finish up in the next week or so.

I'll post about the vest later. Right now I think I'm going to go stare at the wall.