Visiting On Monday

Well, I was just sitting down to read for a little bit...and, someone came to visit!

Good timing! Lunch is almost ready. It must be you. ;-)

You couldn't help but notice this tragic sight on your way in. Sad isn't it! Mr. Ike made friends with Mr. Cold Front, and they came to play in our yard.

Used to have some corn.

Used to have a whole roof.

Used to have this view from the front window.

Sad. But, we fared better than a lot -- a whole lot -- of people. So we are grateful! And, we will have sooooooo much nice sycamore wood to burn in the fireplaces over winter.

(Don't look at my herbs in the windowsill. I like to think of them as dried herbs. Only, they dried themselves while we were otherwise occupied.)

Anyway, come on through. This room is nice and light, but we don't sit in here. This is not where the action is.

The children do some fantastic work in here though -- you should hear some of the music they play on the piano in the corner.

Don't look at all my unfinished projects, on the bookshelf, and I'll just take that baby cup with me as we pass by.
Do you remember the artwork in the entry hall? We used to have it on our walls in Australia, and when we put our house up for sale, our wonderful sales agent advised us to take it off the walls. But we didn't, because, in a way, we wanted the sort of people living in our house, who would appreciate children's art on the walls. And, in the end, or really, rather near to the beginning -- as a matter of fact, before we had the sale advertisement written-- the people who would buy the house, walked through the doors. They liked the art. :-)

Oh, pardon the painter's tape. We are more-or-less finished painting the room formerly known as the "blue room" -- but Ike and his friend visited before we had done the final touchups, and we haven't got back to it yet.

Remember how this part of the house looked?

Is:Something to simulate sunlight, for we who are missing the light, bright days of Australia.

The whole family really likes Carl Larsson paintings, not that we have any, of course -- but I've had this beautiful calendar on the wall all year, and the colors just sort of stuck to the walls of this house. The house began to bloom bit by bit.... We also love richly colored materials, and softness, and warmth, and sales at the fabric store :-) ...
and thriftstore finds of old tablecloths (don't mind the holes, will you?), and Portuguese dragonfly pitcher-thingies......and tiny scherenschnitte, carefully cut by someone, years ago, and thrown out--to be found with joy, in a thrift store, by our family, who loves them....

Why do some things jump out at you? What makes something belong to you the minute you see it? I don't know what the criteria are, for myself, even...but when you see it, you just know, don't you?
Oh yes, that's our family journal. It's the one started quite some time ago, and put down just before we moved, and has yet to be written in again. I should have showed you that beautiful quilted cover ages ago, and I had meant to, but the journal hurt me a little in my heart for some time, and I had it put away. But I've gotten it out now, and hope to add new things in for our family to remember, very soon.

My sister Deb designed and made the cover specially for me, and I love it. And I love you, Deb!
Come through to the kitchen...this is where the action is! And most of the messes, too...and, some of the children's artwork. From last year! It might be time to update, but it's hard to take the old things down, isn't it! I know you know what I mean.

I also know you are secretly wishing to look in the pantry, so here ya go.

It's not been tidied in a while, but that's okay. We know where to find things, don't we!

I know you secretly want to look in the fridge, too.

All right, go ahead. I mean, it almost feels as personal and embarrassing as looking in my underwear drawer or medicine cabinet (or maybe more than), but perhaps that's just my own hangup. ;-)
Oh, I have to tell you a bit about the magnets. The "Mother" magnet is from the Above Rubies Retreat we held three weeks before the Princess arrived, and it was made by Kerry -- who made all the attendees one, to remind them of their worth as a Mamma. The Walt Disney magnet-frame was purchased in 2000, at Disney World in Orlando, and has never had a photo in it. I don't know why, and I don't know how it keeps ending up on the fridge, empty, year after year. In two different countries, even. The picture of Greg Page is from when we met the Wiggles, also in 2000, in a little frame Miss Rose and I made when she was only three.

I know you want to know about that cake, and why there are two open canisters of parmesan cheese, and two half-drunk cups of milk sitting there. Well, Miss Rose and Joman made that cake on the weekend, from scratch. They have free reign of the kitchen, as long as they clean up after themselves. I look forward to many wonderful delicacies from them in the future!

There are two half-drunk cups of milk, because there was a Woby who only drank half a cup before taking a nap; and, not wanting to waste it, some thoughtful sibling put the remainder in the fridge to be drunk up after a short sleep. Forgotten, the half-cup stayed in the fridge, to be joined by another partially-drunk-up cup later that day. Which was, naturally, forgotten, too.

You know, someone asked me WHERE all Woby's cups were disappearing to, lately, the other day. Do you think we might have some clues now? I guess we need to check the bookshelves and refrigerators, when we start getting low on cups. ;-)

The parmesan cheese couldn't be found and we thought it was used up, so we opened another, and then found the first one. You guessed that, didn't you?

I try to keep the bottom of the door stocked with Kool Aid and iced tea, because we go through it quickly! Part of my morning routine is to make a pitcher of each, so that they will be cold by dinner time, and so that, if a guest was to stop by, I would hopefully have something to offer.

Would you like a glass of iced tea? Cherry Kool Aid? Oh, dear...there's the cup of tea and cookies I was going to have before you arrived! I suppose I'll nuke mine, but I'll make you a fresh invisible cup, my invisible friend!

These thin-crispy-chewy cookies are the best. And easy. And quick. And cheap. You don't get better cookies than these. Here's the recipe! with children and babies is a little hit-and-miss. You know.

There's lunch. I hope you like split pea soup, and whole wheat bread, which is finally cool enough to cut and eat.
We had banana bread hot out of the oven for breakfast. Unfortunately, mamma made a boo boo in taking it out of the oven before it was quite ready, and it was still uncooked in the middle. But we ate a whole lot of the parts that were cooked.

Mamma made a boo boo with the soup too, by putting in too much salt. Fortunately, out of the dusty recesses of my brain, I did remember something about adding a potato to a soup which is too salty, as the potato will soak up the salt. So I did, and it did. It was not a stellar day in the kitchen today. :-P

Do you "Hillbilly Housewife?" Most of the things I cooked today came from her. I love, love, love her site for quick, easy, tasty, healthy, cheap, comfort food. The way she writes is like your own Mamma teaching you to make something you loved as a child. If you haven't Hillbillied yet, you really should!

Time to call in the children, who have, hopefully, been doing some schoolwork while we are visiting. It's just as well you are invisible, because usually, whenever anyone stops by, she is mobbed by a pack of eager faces, who are falling over each other to welcome the visitor in, and explain to her, in great detail, just what they've been doing--and what they've made--and what they are going to make--and all the household news--and showing off the Princess -- and giving a concert -- and "treating" the wide-eyed guest to a guided tour of everything and anything they can think of. Sometimes I pretend I'm invisible too.

Miss Rose and Joman are trying to find the word "basically," in our old, old Webster dictionary. The word "basically," is not in the old, old Webster dictionary. Who knows why?

"What are you doing, Jr?"

"Mmmmmmm....""I'm making dis Ting."
"Are you crocheting?"

"Yep, I'm crossaying lots of clothes! And lots of hats for Baby Kaffrine!"

And Woby, who has been busy at work on the floor, has found something that looks interesting in the school shelf. Don't dare try to take it away from him, or he will have a blue fit. He has at least 10 tantrums a day. We are working on that. But avoiding unnecessary conflict is always the first course of action. Just try to keep the peace for as long as possible.

After fishing the paints out of the kitchen trash can, we can put them away when he's not looking. :-)Butterflies everywhere in the homeschool room!

Oh, did I tell you about the caterpillar I found in the broccoli? Well, the poor caterpillar survived Jungle Jims, and a few days in the refrigerator, and the day after we found him, built himself a nice little chrysalis to change in. Within a couple of days -- a much shorter time than we had thought it would take-- Miss Rose found an empty shell, and the Cabbage White butterfly drying his wings on the window. Here are some pictures we took of him, before Miss Rose let him go outside.

Look at those eyes!
Miss Rose is the project queen. She always finishes her projects. I don't know how she does it. She will start and finish several projects in a day. She is not a perfectionist. That is a good thing.

I'll share some of her projects with you later this week when you visit! Right now, besides making Christmas gifts, she is also working with an online blog/writing course, and is writing a story for a competition to win $100. She has recently learned to crochet, and then taught Joman to crochet too -- so they both design and make crocheted items -- headbands, dishcloths, and I don't know what else.

This is her current project-ing area. I am sure there is something in progress here.

You want to know about my projects? I never finish them. If I look around, I can see sooooo many unfinished projects here, there and everywhere! For think, I have only a year's worth, and I bet there are at least two in every room. I left almost all of the previous years' unfinished projects in Australia, and yet, they have multiplied here once again!

How does that happen?

I'm not going to tell you about these unfinished works, down here in the closet. If you don't know what they are, I'm not going to embarrass myself any further by telling you.
(Is there a collective word for a group of unfinished craft projects? I'm trying to think of one. "Litter" would fit, having connotations of messy projects lying around AND of the "litter of children" being a possible reason as to why one might have many UNfinished projects...but "litter" is a bit too common. )

Soooooo....errrrrmmmmm....what did you do on the weekend?

We went to a wedding. In 1800-something. I guess it was a sort of 1800-something sort-of shotgun type of wedding.

(Just between you and me, doesn't this lady look just like one of those dolls that you make out of a dried apple? We loved her. )We churned butter...

and tasted it.......and the three older children made some small whisk-brooms.

It was interesting, seeing how things were done a couple of hundred years ago. We tried to pay attention, because one never knows if one might end up having to do things this way again!

The candle-dipping line.

I really just love to watch the little ones in action. They never stop moving and learning and trying new things.
Poor old Jr Spragus. He was most traumatized by the storm, and by having that huge tree fall down in the front yard. It never occurred to him that a mighty tree could just -- fall!!!-- and he's been extremely concerned over the whole situation ever since. At first, he kept commenting that the tree was "still broken!" And then, he began to ask "WHEN" we were going to fix the tree? Well, although we've told him that the tree can't be fixed, he is not quite ready to accept that fact. We keep catching him trying to affix fallen branches to knotholes in trees, or sticking long sticks in the ground to "grow."You have to admire the little guy's pluck. I love that he sees something that is wrong in his world, and he's trying his best to make it better, against all odds. He's a good little man, and some day, he'll be a good Big Man.

Speaking of trying new things, I have to tell you about this woman. We were pretty impressed by her--as a volunteer, she was chosen to make the soap this year. From scratch. Well, I mean, she didn't have to kill the pig and render the fat, but she did have to buy the lard 'n' lye from Kroger and figure out how to trace soap over an open fire. That's impressive, don't you think!!

Well, it's been lovely visiting with you, but while we've been sitting around shooting the breeze, the Princess has been fed two or three times, and Woby's gotten up from his nap, and Daddy's come home from work -- and made dinner -- and everyone's eaten, and here we are, still sitting.
I'd best be going....will catch up with you more tomorrow, God willing! Have a good day!
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