Our focus over spring break was to finally, finally hang some things on our living room walls. I really battle a tendency toward perfectionism in some areas, and this is one of them. I wanted a gallery wall above the loveseat, but I never felt like I had exactly what I wanted to put there. Finally, I just committed to hanging what we had, and I’m pleased with it.
The mirror is one I’ve had for years and years and years. It’s metal and used to be a shabby, distressed off-white. First I painted it black and applied some silver Rub-n-Buff, but I decided quickly that I didn’t like that look. Then I went for this distressed/shabby yellow effect. It’s still a little bright for my taste, but overall I like it.
The cross, “Count Your Blessings” plank art, and little round mirror (originally yellow, spray painted red) all came from Hobby Lobby at half (or more) off.
We still have a few things to do–finish the wall above the console table beside the love seat (and figure out a way to store all those blankets and throws, which are used daily). Oh, and keep the console table cleaned off, period. 🙂
Right now, though, this behemoth is staring me in the face:
We had an Amish furniture maker build this 9 foot dining room table for us. Now I have to finish it (and the six chairs and two benches, plus the chairs we already owned). I think I have my work cut out for me!
It has been spring break week here at the House of Hope, though the weather belied the name.
What this really means for us is that Steady Eddie was off work for most of the week. As a university employee, he gets a spring break, which is one of the perks of being an educator.
We spent most of the week working on our house, and we’ve made a lot of progress. I hope to share pictures in the near future. 🙂
The girls spent most of the week reading and playing and mostly keeping themselves busy.
Bottoms up! This was trial batch #1.
Both girls are entering an event in the 4H county roundup next week, so they also worked on their entries. Lulu will be demonstrating how to make banana chocolate chip muffins (adapted from this recipe) and Louise is entering an art project.
The “skeleton” of Louise’s art project
This fellow is celebrating his first birthday next week. How is that possible? He isn’t walking yet, but he pulls up on everything. The baby gate has been reinstalled. 🙂
We did get in one game (well, most of a game) of Settlers of Catan. We’ve had this game for several years, and we only started playing it over Christmas break. The girls are finally old enough to understand how to play it. We still haven’t actually finished a game, though. It’s looooong.
Steady Eddie had a meeting in Montgomery on Thursday, so he and I went down on Wednesday night and spent the night sans children. Yes, you read that right–no children! It took a bit of planning (and pumping 😉 ) on my part, but we did it. I spent some time art journaling and praying, reading, and shopping. I also ate at a couple of my favorite restaurants. It was a wonderful getaway for me, and one I desperately needed. The past few months have been extremely busy for Steady Eddie (between work and school–eek!), and they’ve been really stressful for introverted me. When I get away, I see with clarity how necessary this time is for me. (I know the concept of “me time” is controversial in the world of SAHMs, but I’m working on 10 years at this gig and I’ve learned a thing or two about myself along the way.) One thing it really made me realize is that neither I nor Benny was the worse for wear after being apart, and that was indeed good news to me. 🙂
I tried a couple of new recipes this week. Skillet pork chops with potatoes and onions was delicious. I followed the recipe mostly, except I used red potatoes and baked the whole thing in the oven (after browning the chops in a pan on the stove). Tonight I assembled a dish of PW’s chicken spaghetti (an old standby) for a fellowship dinner at church on Sunday, and I made PW’s chicken salad with the leftover chicken. I’ve only sampled it yet, but I think it’s a keeper, too.
Gone with the Wind is finally looking up! Long about the time Scarlett & Co. were fleeing Atlanta, my opinion of her began to slowly, slowly change. It’s amazing how much more I like Scarlett now that she has suffered hardship. 😉
While on our trip this week, I purchased a new art book: One Zentangle a Day by Beckah Krahula. I’m not interested in the zen part of zentangles, but I am fascinated by the whole idea of repetitive shapes and doodling. I haven’t had a chance to actually practice any of it yet, though. (As a side note, I bought the book using a giftcard I received from my aunt and uncle and their family for my 40th birthday. It cost over twice what the book costs on Amazon. It amazes me that brick-and-mortar bookstores stay in business, with prices like that.)
We’ve slept late all week. Getting up early again next week is going to be painful.
I hesitate to use the term “art” in my title, for I’m realizing more and more that I have very little natural artistic ability. However, I’m sharing my creations here because it is truly more about the process than the finished product when it comes to scripture art journaling. I find that when I’m very stressed out and feeling out of touch with God that if I can steal away and focus on His word in a methodical way that some of that anxiety melts away. Scripture art journaling is a great vehicle for this slowing down for me.
These first two pages are of the entire Psalm 25. I’ve mentioned before that it’s one of my favorite Psalms, if not my favorite, so I turned to it first this week when I had a bit of time to work in my art journal. I roughly sectioned the pages off into rectangles and painted each one with watercolors. The first page I did entirely in the van on a trip, so I didn’t get quite as adventurous with the paint as I did on the second page, which I painted in the hotel room. I used Sharpies, Gelly Roll pens, and some other sort of metallic marker for the drawing and writing. There is one verse per rectangle. It’s not pretty, but I focused my attention on each verse and thought about it while I drew and wrote, so I achieved my goal.
This second page is of Romans 15:13. This is a verse that has been a big encouragement to me, so wanted to think about it and flesh it out a bit.
This last page is actually pretty private, so I’m not sharing the whole thing. However, I wanted to share the technique I used, just in case someone might be encouraged to use it one day. I wrote out a prayer to God at the beginning of my quiet time yesterday, leaving enough space between the lines to go back and insert Bible verses above the appropriate portion of my letter. In other words, I found the “answers” to my requests/questions in God’s Word.
Scripture art journaling is something I want to make more time for in the future. It’s something that really, really meets a deep-seated need in me to meditate on God’s Word.
Today I wanted to share an alphabet book I’ve had for a couple of years but that I recently pulled out to read to the DLM. I first learned of this book when I heard Sonya Shafer of Simply Charlotte Mason speak at a homeschooling conference. She cited it as an alphabet book she likes because of its open-ended nature–plenty of room for the discussion of ideas. Well, I’ve never been a huge alphabet book fan, so I had to have this one. It’s actually kind of funny that I bought it since both my girls were well past the typical age to “need” an alphabet book. So, there it sat, until one day I decided to just go for it with the DLM. (My lightbulb moment was that I’m probably never going to have the planning time I crave to make well-coordinated preschool “lessons” for him.) I was surprised at how much he enjoyed The Alphabet Roomby Sara Pinto. We read it twice in one sitting and then he requested it again the next day. It’s a colorful lift-the-flap sort of book, about the size and heft of a square board book. The only words are the alphabetized ones that accompany the letters: A-apple; B-bowl; C-cat; and so on. The upper-case letter is on a contrasting field of color with the word in lowercase just below it. On the facing page is the object (apples, a bowl, etc.), and that brightly-colored panel opens up to reveal the alphabet room. At first the room only contains the apples, but with each succeeded letter, more objects are in the room. Each picture is different, so it’s fun to point out the different objects. Some of pictures are humorous; some are like a hidden object puzzle. I imagine you could spend all sorts of time with this book and your pre-reader. This one is definitely a cut above the usual. Highly Recommended. (Bloomsbury, 2003)
Of course, the DLM and I have been reading other books, but nothing else really stands out. I’d have to say that his favorites right now are the Froggy books by Jonathan London. (My girls went through this phase a few years ago.) Marc Brown’s Arthur books are also usually a hit, as is anything involving heavy equipment. 🙂
I did start reading the DLM his first official chapter book last week. He has demonstrated surprising attention to detail for some while now during the girls’ chapter book read-alouds, so I thought, why not? I picked My Father’s Dragon because it’s also next month’s mother/daughter Bookclub pick at the library. I read it aloud to my girls when they were 4 1/2 years and almost 3 years, so the DLM is right in the middle of that at 3 3/4 years. Of course, the girls are listening in again, too. If all goes well with this one, we’ll follow up with Elmer and the Dragon and The Dragons of Blueland.
I finally hit the wall with reading separate books with each girl. I was attempting to read Thimble Summer to Lulu and Caddie Woodlawn to Louise, but there just aren’t enough hours in the day.
However, we did finish The Black Cauldron by Lloyd Alexander and The Saturdays by Elizabeth Enright (who also wrote Thimble Summer). We all loved both of these books and are eager to move onto the next in each of these series. (In fact, we’re already about a third of the way through the next in the Chronicles of Prydain, The Castle of Llyr.) This year is shaping up to be the year of the series as far as our read-alouds go. Of course, I still sneak in a picture book or three with the girls, so check the links below for a few more links from moi. 🙂
I’m less than 500 pages in, and I’ve been reading it all month. It is spring break week, though, so there is hope. 🙂
I also read a daily devotion this month (more or less) from YouVersion entitled “Holy Emotions.” I learned about it in some of my art journaling menaderings online. Diane Marra of Adore HIM Creations did a scripture art journal based on this devotion.
Fortunately, we’ve fared a bit better with read-alouds. Come back on Thursday for this month’s Read Aloud Thursday linky to link up your read-aloud posts.