Around my house

More from the chair

More of Zasha in her chair.

Zasha loves her chair

Today is R's birthday! We're going to the science museum today. Hopefully he'll find time to play with his birthday present. And I'm sure there will be time for chocolate cake and ice cream...

Editing this to add this photo of Catnip (secretly called "titty cat" by some of us because she is, erm, anatomically correct) at V's insistence.

Catnip loves her chair

This kid never fails to make me laugh.

A clear idea

One of the things that's constantly on my mind is homeschooling. Or unschooling. Or some sort of combination of the two. We think V will be a really good candidate for unschooling (though, truthfully, we think all children are) because she is such the go-getter. If she has a question, she needs an answer. And we're happy to help her when she needs it and happy to let her figure it out when she doesn't.

At 4.5, V has been reading for a good year now. I don't think I could say that I taught her to read exactly. I was always better in English class than math or science. R tells me he learned to read in daycare when he was 3. So, genes? All I know is that we've been talking about letters and the sounds they make and the sounds at the beginning/end/middle of words and what words mean and what they look like since before she could possibly understand. But we've never pushed, it's always a fun thing. So now she can read. This is very helpful in the car on trips to see the grandparents - especially since we've been through 2 DVD players now (so annoying).

But just because she can read, doesn't mean she always understands what she reads. And it doesn't mean that she writes. Or that she's doing calculus. She's a regular 4-year-old kid. But still, it's exciting. Because she's fresh. She has no preconceived notions of what learning should be like. If she decides she likes worksheets, we'll get her worksheets. But if not, that's A-Ok with me. There is always another way to learn something.

Yesterday my MIL gave us these bookshelves. They're in the playroom now - which is also where my computer is and I'm guessing the formal homeschooling area of the house. Though I'm sure the actual learning will take place all over, it'll be nice to have a place for the books, pencils, paper, etc.

V set the books on top of the shelves to look like our local library. I have a really hard time not buying every single book I think might interest her, in addition to the ones she wants. So we have a lot. And I want ever-more. Thank goodness for the library!

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I finally have a clear idea for this room. I'd like a twin mattress to use as a daybed/guest bed. Also a chair or loveseat. A lamp or three. A proper desk for my computer. One day I want these shelves as well. And I super-de-duper want this wall map.

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I truly think one of the greatest perks of homeschooling must be doing it how you want to do it, how it works best for your family. Like having a ($5 from a local thrift store! woot!) Hello Kitty table as your desk. And having Movie Fridays. And filming science experiments to post on the internet (one day soon, I hope). Daytrips to roadside historical sites. Or whatever we feel like doing. I found The Organic Sister blog the other day and have been reading it from now to the beginning. While I sometimes wish we could just pack it up and head out, I don't see this happening. But that's what Tara and her family have done and I'm enjoying reading about it. Knowing what I know about school from my own experience (and believe me when I say that this is just the tip of my iceberg), reading what I've read about it, and (so far) feeling the relaxed attitude and yet constant learning that goes on with my own child, I have to say I feel pretty lucky to live in this age of the Internet and all the resources that are available to us.

Just wanted to say that.

Like flowers for bottles

Life has a way of getting crazy and so I kind of ran out of time to decorate much for V's birthday party on Sunday. Luckily, she's 4 and so wasn't a bit worried about that.

When I sent R & V out to get those last-minute things we needed, I remembered to ask them to get flowers and they came home with a dozen roses in pink, yellow, and red.

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And I remembered I had these bottles.

So perfect!

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I hope you had a lovely weekend. Today I'm sorting wool, dyeing wool, taking photos and hopefully listing 3-4 yarns throughout the day. What about you?

On my mantle

On my fireplace mantle this month, I have pumpkins.

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Real ones.

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And a cute, handsewn one from Sea Pinks.

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I have a teapot that we got as a wedding gift. I've always been afraid to actually use it, but I am happy now to finally have a place to display it.

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My beloved Duaflex camera. I still need to make a contraption for it, though. It's on the list.

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Old glass - an old, beat up manual focus Nikon lens and a red vase that was my grandmother's (thanks Mom!).

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And here's the center - my lens isn't wide-angle enough to get the whole thing.

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I've still got one spot open on the mantle. I'm thinking of a pretty wooden bowl with some handspun yarn balls in it. I'm also thinking about what to do for Christmas - stockings for all three of us! I'm so excited.

Around the backyard

I just spent 20 minutes in the backyard, pulling vines off the fence that I hope aren't poison ivy. I guess we'll know within a few hours, but so far so good.

I found a couple of things on the ground while I was pulling vines.

This piece of metal.

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This piece of glass (lots of glass, actually, but this was the only piece that was at all pretty. Why oh why do people do that?).

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And this orange fungus growing on a tree stump.

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We also have some fairly aggressive and hungry squirrels. I guess one creates the other.

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A mushroom that's grown because of all the rain.

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And a tomato plant that I doubt is going to make it (my fault).

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Also, these pretty purple flowers that have gotten a bit drowned in all our rain.

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How's your backyard? Good? Mine needs a lot of work. I'm not sure I'm the right person for the job, but I'll give it a try - slowly and probably not this year. Until then, I'll just keep my eye out for what makes my backyard special and try to build on that.