Meet Clover

Are you prepared for some puppy cuteness?  Yes, we got a puppy.  Most of my blog readers are “real life” friends and family, so you already know about our newest addition, but my blog wouldn’t be complete without a proper introduction to Clover.

Clover joined our family about a month after the loss of Hannah.  We thought we would wait a bit before finding a new pet, but we missed Hannah’s presence in our home too much to be without a dog for much longer.  We had decided long before Hannah died that our next dog would be a rescue pup.  We browsed Petfinder.com, and this little black lab mix jumped out at us.  She was named “Jill,” but after several in depth rounds of family voting, we decided on “Clover.”  (I was later dismayed to find out that there is a popular cartoon character with a pet named Clover.  We had no idea.)  She was only about nine weeks old when we adopted her, one of nine puppies in an abandoned litter.  Can you imagine!

clover2

cloverbailey

These photographs are of Clover with her pal, Bailey.  Bailey isn’t our dog, but  she has been quite the little (big!) mother to Clover.  They have a cute, funny relationship.

clover4

And here is our girl at 4 months old.  She’s growing fast, and we soon won’t have a little puppy anymore!

Menu Tuesday?

Hi, readers.  I did not post menus over the last two weeks because we were staying with family for a few days during each of those weeks.  Meal planning was a little tricky, so I didn’t have actual menus prepared.  Here is how this week is stacking up:

Monday:  Chicken parmesan

Tuesday:  Pizza

Wednesday:  Steak salads

Thursday:  Chicken and broccoli stir-fry

Friday:  Salmon, “hot potato salad,” and spinach salad

Saturday:  Fajitas

Sunday:  Sauerkraut and Sausage Casserole

A note on Sunday’s dinner.  It’s not really my thing.  I don’t love kielbasa or sauerkraut, but my husband and my kids love both.  At least it looks pretty.  You can see it here.  http://www.eatingwell.com/recipes_menus/recipe_slideshows/make_ahead_casserole_recipes?slide=17#leaderboardad

Happy birthday!

Big things are happening here.  A boy turned six.  And got a bicycle!  Six years ago, we welcomed a second son into our family, and he has brought much love and mischief into our lives.  He is an amazingly practical little guy, always trying to figure things out.  He is sensitive and usually has his emotional antennae poised.  He’s a loyal brother, knowing both the role of little brother and big brother.  Simply, he’s a delight.

We love you, buddy!

DSC_0743

 

Menu Monday

The day is almost over, but I made it back for Menu Monday!  As person who often struggles with follow-through, I consider this a major success.

Last week was vacation Bible school, so the food schedule didn’t go exactly as I had imagined.  A few meals got bumped up; therefore, Sunday’s steak is tomorrow’s dinner.  Here’s the plan:

Monday — Spaghetti and salad

Tuesday — Steak, roasted cabbage, and baked apples

Wednesday — Chicken and veggie pizza

Thursday — Meatball sandwiches and “Mary Salad” (tomatoes, cucumbers, and Italian dressing)

Friday — Spinach salads with chicken, strawberries, and almonds

Saturday — Someone is turning six!!  Birthday party food!

Sunday — leftovers

Somehow Summer

DSC_0187

Somehow, it’s summer already.  Somehow, spring slipped by, baseball season came to it’s dramatic end (champions!), and our family vacation came & went.  Now, somehow, we are in the midst of July.  Happy summer weeks are behind us, and about six more stand ahead–bursting with the promise of lightning bugs, cook-outs, popsicles, and trips to the pool.  Somehow, time continues to speed faster with each year, daring to beat it’s own impossible pace.  All we can do is snatch moments into our memories for safe keeping, hoarding them like precious stones.

DSC_0292

DSC_0360

DSC_0357

DSC_0333

 

Menu Mondays

I’m going to try.  I really will!

I’m going to try to post our dinner menu for the week on most Mondays.  I enjoyed doing that when I was completing the 52 week food budget challenge.  The habit pushed me to be creative and consistent in my meal planning.  So here goes…

Monday:  pork chops on the grill, pasta salad, and fresh pineapple

Tuesday:  chicken salad with grapes and pecans on whole wheat buns and sweet potato fries

Wednesday:  tacos and corn on the cob

Thursday:  turkey burgers on whole wheat buns and Grandma Sunny’s bean salad

Friday:  fish (not sure how I’ll prepare it) and wild rice with apricots and pecans

Saturday:  {We’ll be away all day and will probably eat out.}

Sunday:  steak on the grill, roasted cabbage with garlic and lemon, and baked apples

Our Dog: Worth Breaking the Rules

We are not rule breakers.  I guess you could say Cory and I are pretty straight laced.  We don’t sneak into movies, cheat on our taxes, or pretend our child is under five to get the free kid’s meal.

But we did get a puppy out of wedlock.  While I was living in a college-owned apartment.  Gasp!

That sweet pup became our beloved companion.  Hannah moved with us from our college town to Massachusetts, back to our home state, to Florida, and back to our college town.  She was gentle, quiet, and as low maintenance  as any dog could be.  Being a Labrador mix, she did have a pronounced puppy phase during which she barked at every squirrel and bicycle, and she once ate an entire loaf of bread but left the crusts.  She was a treasure.

This morning, Hannah died.  Her health had been declining, but I still feel sucker punched.  I was not ready.  I’m not ready to not see her first thing in the morning.  I’m not ready to not watch her streak up my parent’s back yard looking incredibly like a racing greyhound.  I’m not ready to miss her barks, her brown eyes, her shiny coat.  I want it to be yesterday again when I scratched behind her ear and told her to be good while we went to Grandma and Papa’s house for the day.

We are not rule breakers, but we took a risk and found a friend.

Miss you, Girl.

Image

Image

Spring in a new-to-us House

We moved into our new house in November.  That evening, snow began to fall as our family carried in chairs and pillows and boxes and dishes and books and toys and all the things that make a home.  Winter seemed to begin on that day, even though the calendar wouldn’t be in agreement for several weeks.  We did not see much of our yard this winter.  Each time the snow began to melt and the grass peaked through, a fresh blanket would fall.  As spring approached, we wondered what might pop up in our yard.  Having never seen the property outside of fall and winter, we had little more than a guess based on sadly wintered leftovers from seasons gone by.  So…what did we find here?  What new life finally raised from hibernation?

Image

Image

Image

Image

Spring carries a fun anticipation.  What will pop up next?

 

Easter 2014

I love Easter, especially when it comes in late April.  The parallel between the natural world and the spiritual celebration is a powerful illustration of the day’s deepest meaning.  The world is coming alive again.  With hints of color in our yard, green popping up, dead things falling away as new life sprouts, I am ready to feel the joy of a different kind of resurrection.  A capital R Resurrection. 

We had a rough winter, and the fresh air and sunshine feels like a perfect balm for a very sore spirit.  The story of Christ conquering death is the good news I need.  Everything is a live again–body, mind, and spirit.  It’s an exciting time, and the Easter weekend was the kind of celebrating that we needed.

Here’s a look…

Image

Image

Image

Image

Image

 

Image

Image

Image

Room for Learning

Our days are structured around learning, so it is no surprise that the #1 factor in choosing our new house was (for me anyway) the place where we would “do school.”  Now, to be fair, our work happens all over the house, and much of it doesn’t look like school at all.  However, when I saw this sunroom, I envisioned cups of tea, good books, finger paintings, and sunshine.  Here is how our “school room” looks when it is all tidied up and ready to go.

You pass through the French doors to enter the sunroom.  The sweet rocking horse was given to us by the house’s previous owner.  She said that it was enjoyed by her children and made by her sister.  I love having it in our school room.

Image

We already owned the loveseat, and it fits perfectly at one end of the room.  To give you a sense of the size of our room, it is only a little wider (maybe three feet) than the loveseat itself.

Image

The big school table is actually a “retired” library table with two big drawers at the front.  I love that it came from an honest-to-goodness library.  We adopted it from a friend, and it couldn’t be more perfect for our purposes.  Bins beneath the table hold our books and supplies.  The wool, braided tote on the radiator holds our percussion instruments.

Image

The flowered tin is my sticker box from when I was a child.  I still have stickers in it from when I was six or seven years old, plus many new additions.  The little metal buckets are from the Target dollar bin. 

Image

The wonderful owl puppet was a Christmas gift to our oldest son from my parents when he was four.  He adored it when he was little, and the owl still brings a bit of charming wisdom to our days.  The alphabet puzzle is a Melissa and Doug toy from Aunt Kristy and Uncle Jake.

Image

We love to use magazines in our homeschool.  We typically use National Geographic Kids and Highlights.  The microscope is a “talking microscope” that we really enjoy.  It was a gift from my in-laws, and it is used very frequently!  The books are ones that we are using currently.  We did a unit on the library.  We’re slowly reading through the Little House books, and you’ll notice our Story of the World (Volume 2) history book and the accompanying activity book, plus some fables and a collection of Beatrix Potter stories, perfect for spring.

Image

This board is the Everyday Display from Creative Memories.  Unfortunately, it is no longer available, but I’ve seen them on Ebay for good prices.  The board is magnetic.  We made the rainbows  for a unit on refraction and shamrocks for St. Patrick’s Day.

Image

I hope you enjoyed your tour of our sunroom.  We love it!