Friday, February 27, 2009

Bittersweet week.

It has been a strange, strange week. Our dog, Noah, was killed by a car on Monday afternoon. It must have happened minutes after the girls and I left for ballet. It was a horrible end to his 4-year life. Jerry and I have really had a difficult time with it. The girls, however, are very happy with the outcome. He was not a great fit for our family, but like a crazy old uncle, he was still family. He dug up everything I planted, but he made me feel safe at night. He dragged deer parts into the front yard, but he kept watch when the girls played outside. He terrified deliverymen, but when we drove up the driveway he leaped around for joy. That first night I woke up several times and realized that no one was barking. It is still strange to walk up or down the front steps and not get knocked down them.

Our other dog, Ursa, has been shaved and moved into the house. The girls are thrilled! She has a new pink collar and bandana. She is a perfect inside dog. She remembers the days before there were little girls in the house! She lies on her bed, sits at our feet and politely sits by the door when she wants to go out. She has always had a mate, Orion before Noah. And she still looks for one or the other when she goes out. Because she was always part of a package deal before, she was never as clean and could never come in - when she did come in she whimpered to go back out to her mates, who were both completely unsuitable to life on the inside.

I have been gardening with a vengeance! For the first time in years, I will be able to plant what I like without a dog digging it up. The caveat - no dog to chase away rabbits, deer and squirrels. I find it so strange that there are no dogs or cats trying to get in my face when I bend down over the gardens. I cannot decide if it is an improvement or just plain lonely. Yesterday, I was working near some hellebores. There was one flower still smashed on the ground. Noah did that a day or two before he died. I was kneeling down to get a closer look and he bounded over, Tiggger-like, and smashed the bloom. I was so annoyed. And now it makes me cry - for the dog not the flower.

Bittersweet. So many things will be better now, but those big brown eyes won't smile at me as he looks up from some disaster he caused.

Noah, Rest in Peace.


Very Veggie Soup

Here is a meatless recipe I have tinkered with. My husband and I really like it, but the children prefer soup out of a can!

Chop 1 large white onion, 3 cloves garlic, 2 ribs celery and 1 large red bell pepper. Saute with 3 Tbs olive oil. Add veggies to a stock pot with 4 cups vegetable broth, 1 14-oz can DICED tomatoes, 1 14-oz can CRUSHED tomatoes, 2 zucchini (peeled and chopped), several handfuls of chopped carrots, 1 10-oz bag frozen green beans, 1 10-oz BAG chopped spinach (I hate the "bricks" of spinach!), 2 Tbs chopped fresh parsley, 1 15-oz can kidney beans, 1 15-oz can white beans, 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano, 1 tsp salt, 1 tsp dried basil, and plenty of freshly ground black pepper. I think I may have added 1/2 to 1 cup of water as well.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Wordless Wednesday

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Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Why not eat meat on Fridays?/Meatless Recipies

Traditionally, catholics abstain from meat on Fridays. This changed in the 60s. Roman catholics now abstain from meat on Fridays during Lent. Anglo-catholics have meatless Fridays year-round (except for Fridays falling between Christmas and Epiphany), and Fridays and Wednesdays during Lent. Why Fridays? Christ was crucified on a Friday. Every Friday is a little Good Friday, and every Sunday is a little Easter. Giving up meat is a small sacrifice to remind of us of Jesus' much greater sacrifice. I must add that the Eastern Orthodox have a much more rigorous system of fasts that more closely mirrors the fasts of the ancient church. They give up oil, dairy, wine, and "anything with a backbone."

All this is to say that I will be sharing my favorite meatless recipes with you over the next few weeks. I hope to share some recipes for anyone who enjoys vegetarian meals and any Christian who chooses to observe little Good Fridays.

If you do not already have a favorite charity, I encourage you to look at Operation Rice Bowl. They encourage families to eat simple meals once or twice a week and collect the money they save to send to others in need. There is also a calendar with daily facts and prayers to be used during Lent. I'm sure you could adjust this concept to your own family, and perhaps save money to use for a local charity.

Stay tuned for a vegetarian recipe on Wednesday!


Friday, February 20, 2009

Weekly Report

We had a busy, productive week! We had days 80-85 of our school year this week. Nutmeg is steadily working through Saxon 3 and First Language Lessons 3. She worked on squaring numbers and reviewing prepositions. We have really fallen down on Latin in the past couple of weeks, and I hope to start again next week. Nutmeg is only 8, so it is not as though we are "behind!"

I purposefully picked this time of year to study weather. In the past two weeks, we have recorded beautiful 70-degree days and bitter 20-degree days and, of course, tornado watches! Late winter and early spring in north Georgia are crazy! I hope that knowledge will be power, and Nutmeg will feel a bit safer knowing how to watch the weather. Of course we will be practicing weather safety too! My grandmother never let us touch our dog (inside!) during a thunderstorm. Maybe we will get to the root of that strange rule as we study weather, or maybe not! ;)

We continue our slow, deep study of the American Revolution. This week we studied the Declaration of Independence and Thomas Jefferson. We also looked at colonial architecture. I never before (or maybe I have just forgotten!) made the connection between the borrowing of democratic/republican ideas and the borrowing of Greek and Roman architectural details during this period. Nutmeg and her friend had a great time exploring the Monticello website. They also looked at pictures of Martha Washington's wedding shoes now on display for a short period of time. We ate "Thomas Jefferson Foods" and looked at Martha Jefferson's plantation account book. We discussed feeding, clothing and washing all the people on the plantation with no super-market!

The Chipmunk and her Buddy made "Katie and the Big Snow" lapbooks with their Five in a Row studies. Lizzie and I are trying to incorporate the little ones into the big kids' weather studies. It did not go so well yesterday. Chipmunk and her Buddy made faces at each other, burped, and sneaked off during most of the fascinating discussion on clouds. Hmmmm....

And I hate to tell you this, Mommylawyer, but Chipmunk says she cannot marry your Will. She says she must marry her Buddy - because his hair "matches hers." Ah, young love!


Monday, February 16, 2009

And the Winner Is.....

There were only five names, so the chances were good. I put the names on cards, and put the cards in a mixing bowl. My husband drew out.......DEBORAH! Congratulations!


Friday, February 13, 2009

CHS Chart Giveaway!

Inspired by other stitchy bloggers, I will be giving away a CHART for "As
Life Wears Away," by Carriage House Samplers. I finished stitching this piece this week, and I absolutely love it! I used DMC, but it is also charted for Soie D' Alger. Don't be scared away by the Irish Stitch; it is fast and fun. You could also do the whole design in cross stitch. Leave a comment for this post (with an email address if not linked) and I will randomly choose a winner on Monday morning. It feels great to be giving away this wonderful chart. I hope one of you will enjoy it as much as I do! United States mailing addresses only, please.

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Wednesday, February 11, 2009


We started a new science unit this week - Weather. I thought this would be the perfect time to study weather- one day 70 degrees and the next cloudy and cold. Also, Nutmeg is terrified of tornadoes (like her mother), and I hope that studying weather and weather forecasting might empower her (and her mother).

I am also embarking on a new stitching rotation. I am not an organized person, but I am really proud of my new floss organization, so I am branching out. I have been researching other stitchers' rotations and have decided to start with a 3-day rotation. I do not think I could count up 10 hours per project and one day would not be long enough. So I think 3 days per project would be a good compromise. Today is my third day on "Life Wears Away." I also like the idea of adding a new project each time I go through the list. That is my favorite part!


Saturday, February 7, 2009

Progress and a New Start

I have made a little more progress on this piece by Carriage House Samplings. I've done the most enjoyable bits, and I am now stuck on the more difficult bits in the center of each medallion. :(
I started this design from the latest issue of the Gift of Stitching online magazine. The design is for a four-part sampler featuring scenes from Joan of Arc's short life. I really do not need another large project right now, so I have chosen to do the scenes individually. I may not want to do the last scene of her earthly life!
Today, while we watch an Inspector Lynley episode, I will be working on this Sheepish Designs pattern. I need to get started! I can see it finished and framed hanging by my mantle in the living room - but the one-over-one letters might push me over the edge!
Here is my little Nutmeg! Hope you all have productive weekends!

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