Sunday, February 21, 2010

Lesson I’ve Learned Sewing

I don’t like to sew.  I knit.  And I knit things that don’t require much sewing.  Because I don’t like to sew.  But, occasionally, I will get outside my box a little and sew something like Halloween costumes or stuff for the house.

14 (almost 15) years ago, just before Rosie Girl was born, we bought a glide rocker.  In those 14 years, the cushions have taken quite a beating – by children, cats, and adults.  I was hiding the rocker in my office, but it has been moved out into the living room because of the Olympics and will likely stay there, so I decided the cushions must be recovered.  I still had some fabric left over from when my mother-in-law re-covered my living room pillows, so I pulled that out and used it to recover the cushions.

The project was a surprising success.  It took less than four hours and my neck is only screaming at me moderately.  I didn’t miter the corners on the bottom cushion, so it could be a little neater, but, as I said before, I don’t actually like to sew.

I learned a few important lessons today from my sewing:

1. You don’t always need a pattern.  Sometimes being fearless and having sharp scissors is your best bet.

2. When you’re sewing along and it sounds like the needle is going to break, the needle is probably going to break.

3. Even if you only have another inch left to sew, if you don’t want to do it by hand, you have to replace the broken needle.

4. Nobody will notice that you used white bobbin thread and light blue sewing thread (I hope).

5. When you run out of the white bobbin thread, you have to wind a bobbin because I’m pretty sure that it’s hard to get away with using red bobbin thread when the seam is going to show on the outside!

6. God is making me repent of all the times I thought superior thoughts toward the girls who took Home Ec. in school while I was going to go to college and med school and didn’t need such silly classes.  Indeed, I was wrong.  My mother taught me lots of cooking, but not much sewing.  To remedy that in this generation, I’m making sure both my kids (boy and girl!) can cook a meal and do basic sewing.

7. Humility is a good thing.

8. The cat is still going to sleep on that rocking chair even though it has a lovely new cushion and I have to decide right now that it’s OK or else the cats sleep in the basement.  Eh, I guess it’s OK.

9. I love the rotary cutter and mat that my mother-in-law leaves here for when she sews.  Makes cutting straight lines really fast!!  And, I didn’t cut my finger off!!

10.  I’ll bet that if my mother-in-law had done this project, the stripes in the top and bottom cushions would line up.


So, there it is – my sewing adventure for this half of the year.  I’ll say good-bye to the sewing machine until Fall when I’ll haul it out again for Halloween costumes.  I heard a rumor that Wild Man wants to be Lucius Malfoy – looks like we’ll be making capes again!!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Our Week In Review – 2/20/2010


This week has been a great improvement over last week if for no other reason than that I haven’t had nearly as many migraines!  Here’s what’s been up for the last couple of weeks:

History/Social Sciences – We’ve finished up with the Civil War and are now learning about Reconstruction and the social changes of the late 19th and early 20th century.  Wild Man and I listened to a historical fiction book called The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg while we watched Olympics this week.  The book is about a 12 year old boy and his adventures in the time of the Civil War.  I very highly recommend the book, especially the audiobook version!

Language Arts – Rosie Girl has been reading The Red Badge of Courage, but under duress.  Apparently, she doesn’t like it.  That’s OK – it builds character to do things you don’t enjoy.  Wild Man is reading Old Yeller.  He’s actually almost completely finished because he read ahead because he’s enjoying it so much.  He’s doing quite well with IEW for writing as long as he dictates the writing to me.  I hope to have him writing or typing some of his own assignments by the end of the year.  In the meantime, the paragraph long stories that he is supposed to re-write are expanding into page-long stories with all kinds of embellishments.  He definitely prefers writing fiction!

Math – Both kids are still doing ALEKS.  Rosie Girl is more motivated these days after she realized that she has to finish Algebra 1 before the start of the next school year, even if she has to work during the summer!!  Wild Man is still working on math facts – a task that is hampered by his dyslexia.  The ALEKS QuickTables seems to be the best program for him so far, but it’s still work for him.

Science – Rosie Girl did some experiments with plants and pollen this week that were really interesting.  What’s not so interesting is that she can’t find her workbook, so she has to buy the new one.  (Having to shell out the money herself did motivate her to look really hard for it!)  Deep sigh.  Wild Man is reading a biography of George Washington Carver that he finds less than exciting.  However, I’ve ordered a biography of Elias Howe from the library that I think will be more interesting and might motivate him to get through the G.W. Carver book.  He also got to watch his sister’s experiments.

Music – Rosie Girl has to work on a solo for Choir, but she doesn’t have to take it to Solo and Ensemble (although, the last news I heard was that she was planning to go).  Today, she went to the library where the students doing A (more difficult) solos and the students doing ensembles all sang during a quilt show.  Rosie Girl is doing a B (less difficult) solo, so she went to see her friends.  However, the Choir director roped her into singing her solo AND playing the Mozart Sonata from last semester.  Rosie Girl is working on a Chopin Valse and a Prokoviev piece for festival in April.

Life Skills – I taught Wild Man to make spaghetti with meat sauce on Tuesday night, so he and Rosie Girl, who made garlic bread, took care of dinner completely.  I’m trying to get us to a 10 menu rotation for over the course of two weeks.  I would like Wild Man to make the ground beef meal and Rosie Girl to do the meatless (meaning, in this house, cheese) meal.  Other than that, I reminded them, yet once again, this week to try to actually do their assigned chores, even when I have a migraine.  I think it’s a hopeless cause.  But, it’s not something to lose sleep over!

So, that’s the last two weeks for us.  I can’t say it’s been terribly exciting, but we continue to move forward and the kids are learning.  As frustrated as I get when I have migraines and don’t get to really interact much with the kids, I would not give up homeschooling right now for anything.  Rosie Girl and I took a walk Thursday afternoon just for the heck of it.  I love being with my kids.  (Of course, I reserve the right to change my mind on any topic at any time for any reason!)  I would really like to go to a museum next weekend.  We might have to go to the geology museum before I can convince them about going to the state history museum. 

Check out how other families fared this week at Weird, Unsocialized Homeschoolers!


Friday, February 19, 2010

7 Quick Takes Friday – 2/19/2010


1. It’s hard to get much schoolwork done with Wild Man with the Olympics on this week.  2-4 pm is prime school time for us, but that’s when they have afternoon coverage.  Our compromise has been to listen to an audiobook while we watch the Olympics with the sound off.

2. Speaking of audiobooks – We listened this week to The Mostly True Adventures of Homer P. Figg.  This is a wonderful book about a 12 year old boy and his adventures trying to get to his brother who was illegally sold into service in the Union Army during the Civil War.  I really recommend this one on audiobook because of the wonderful narration, although I’m sure it’s also good to read from the book.

3. I had a craving today for chocolate pound cake, so I put one together while everyone else was watching the Olympics.  It’s out of the oven and cooling now.  I can’t wait to cut into it!

4. I finally sent my dad his Christmas present – on February 17.  I sent him a picture of the one sock that I had finished by Christmas and was going to finish the other one to send to him.  However, he and Mom gave me a cool sock knitting book for Christmas, so I started over and made him a pair of socks from a pattern in the book, so I didn’t get them done until now.  He’s OK with it, though.

5. Rosie Girl has been really into writing fan fiction lately and has published a number of stories.  Not only that, but, she’s taking a short story workshop through and is working on a story for that class.  She tries to get done with her schoolwork every day with a couple of hours before bedtime so she can write.

6. Wild Man is reading Old Yeller, so Mr. Math Tutor told the kids about the scene from Stripes where Bill Murray’s character motivates the soldiers to work through the night to pass graduation by talking about Old Yeller.  That character also says that, as Americans, we’re mutts, “our forefathers were kicked out of every decent nation”.  The kids thought it was hysterical.  Of course, Stripes is completely inappropriate for children (OK, for adults, too), but we did watch that one scene on YouTube and got a good laugh!

7. Mr. Math Tutor has started writing a series of books with some people he’s worked with before that will be first be published online.  He’s pretty excited because he got some positive feedback on his first bit of writing today.  Obviously, the titles are going to be math-related.  Is your appetite whetted now?  Don’t worry – I’ll be sure to link to them from here when they are ready!!

Check out 7 Quick Takes Friday to see what others have been up to this week!

Monday, February 15, 2010

More thoughts on Joy!

So, I was reading in Psalms yesterday and came to Psalm 30:5  “For his anger lasts only a moment, but his favor lasts a lifetime; weeping may remain for a night, but rejoicing comes in the morning.”

When I was growing up, my dad loved this verse, and he used to quote it very loudly, very early in the morning – “Weeping may endure for the night, but JOY comes in the morning!!”  (I’m pretty sure he learned in the King James Version).  I used to roll over in bed at 6 or 7am on Saturday morning after hearing him singing or saying this very loudly and wonder something along the lines of “can’t Joy sit outside my bedroom door till about 10am when I’m ready to get out of bed!”

Thursday, February 11, 2010

I Choose Joy

Today is the third day of this migraine and it’s still there in spite off all my medications. I’m so tempted to give in to depression and hopelessness. Last night, I cried for about twenty minutes out of sheer frustration for four years of seemingly unrelenting pain. I had lunch with a friend today, but I worry that I wasn’t great company.

Nonetheless, I choose joy over despair.

When I finish crying, I dry my tears knowing that Jesus himself suffered physical and emotional pain when He was here on Earth. Hebrews 4:15 “For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are – yet was without sin.”

I will get up tomorrow and go on with a new day, even if I have to pray for God to get me through each minute.

I will love my husband and children with every bit of strength I have no matter how much pain I have.

I will love and trust God that He’s working all things together for His glory and my good. Acts 17:28 “For in Him, we live and move and have our being . . .”

I will pray.

I will thank God for these awful headaches because they have taught me to lean on Him every second since I have no strength of my own anymore (and, did I ever, really?).

I choose joy.