Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Reading Record 2013

January: The Dirty Life (Kimball)

February: The Magician's Nephew (Lewis)
                The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe (Lewis)

March: Heller with a Gun (L'Amour)
            The Horse and His Boy (Lewis)
            The Politically Incorrect Guide to Western Civilization (Esolen)

April: Queen Without Crown (Polland)
           The Castle of Llyr (Alexander)
           When the Morning Came (Prins)
           In the Footsteps of Jesus (Marchiano)

May: The King's Daughter and Other Stories for Girls (White)



August: Web of Traitors (Trease)
              Ten Thousand Heroes (Barbary)
              The Stolen Oracle (Williams)
              Alexander's Horses (Powers)
              The Counterfeit African (Williams)
              Hannibal: Invader from Carthage (Webb)
              Julius Caesar (Buchan)
              The Golden Hawks of Genghis Khan (Ritchie)
              The Eagles Have Flown (Williamson)
              Message to Hadrian (Trease)
              The Eagle of the Ninth (Sutcliff)
              The Silver Branch (Sutcliff)
              The Lantern Bearers (Sutcliff)
              The Fifty-Six Who Signed (Fink)
              The Prairie Traveler (Marcy)

September: The First Book of Medieval Man (Sobol)
                   Attila: King of the Huns (Webb)
                   Age of Chivalry (Bulfinch)
                   The Horn of Roland (Williams)
                   Legends of Charlemagne (Bulfinch)
                   El Cid (McCaughrean)

October: Owen's Pretty Good Book (Blickensderfer)
               Hereward the Wake (Kingsley)
               Knight's Fee (Sutcliff)
               The Hunchback of Notre Dame (Hugo)
               Son of the Land (Bolton)
               Genghis Khan and the Mongol Horde (Lamb)
               Ironies of Faith (Esolen)
               Men of Iron (Pyle)
               The Brendan Voyage (Severin)

November: Miniatures and Morals (Leithart)
                   No Parachute (Lee)


Wednesday, November 13, 2013

I Blame My Sponges

I'm sorry to admit this, but blogging is not at the top of my priority list.  Sponges are.

I have four of them.

They soak up knowledge almost as fast as I can write out the lesson plans for the week.  They absorb food quicker than I can prepare it.  And they just will NOT quit getting bigger, so I am constantly on the lookout for bigger clothes and bigger shoes.

Yep.  The shortage of blog posts from me is entirely the fault of my sponges.

(Aaaaand now my kids think I'm nuts.)

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Four Days Later

Four days after our first visit to Mt. Rainier, the kids and I went back again,
but this time we took Grandma!

We took an easier one mile hike that had plenty of views like this one.

Our destination was Myrtle Falls,

and this was the view looking up from the top of the falls.

Half of the kids thought the bridge was great
(the other half weren't so sure it was engineered properly), 

and they were all delighted to make a new friend
(from a distance).

Such a beautiful hike... too beautiful to only visit twice...

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Mt. Rainier

On Sunday, we went on a four mile hike to Mt. Rainier.

We saw some fun wildlife:

 a buck,

 two does,

and a few marmots.

Wildflowers were everywhere.


 On the way up, there was the mountain to look at,


and on the way down, there were vistas like this.

And lots of wildflowers.
Did I mention those?

Such a beautiful hike...too beautiful to only visit once...

Friday, August 2, 2013

In The Back Field

The Bookshelf Saga: Part 2

Once the bookshelves were finished, I started loading them with books, beginning with the shelves we bought.  Those shelves are at the end of my new shelving system, and I alphabetize our books by author, so I started with Z and worked my way backward until I filled the shelves...

...and ran out of room.

So I got creative!

I found this set of retro mustard yellow suitcases at Goodwill earlier that week, and I still hadn't figured out exactly what I was going to do with them.  So I used the smaller one as a bookshelf at the east end of the lighted bookshelves!
(I filled the big one on the bottom with denim I'm saving to make quilts for my kids some day.  
Storage in plain sight; I love that!)
This is my Desert/Cowboy Corner:  a rubbing of a Native American petroglyph (my step-grandma made it along the Columbia River in the 60s for an art class, before the dam flooded the area), a paint-by-number my grandpa did, jars of jawbones my kids collected in Nevada, a too-small cowboy hat and too-big cowboy boots, and a desert-scape picture my brother-in-law took in South America (the frame belonged to my great-grandma and is made out of cactus).

On the wall facing that, at the west end of the lighted bookshelves, I stacked up a few old wooden crates from my mother-in-law and filled them with books (because I knew by the time I got to the M's that I was going to run out of room), and I used a horseshoe-shaped book holder turned on end to take part of my Louis L'Amour collection vertical.  To continue my cowboy theme, I filled some too-small cowboy boots with coins to use as bookends and added a red bandanna and my father-in-law's moose jawbones.

I'm happy with my little extra shelving solutions, and the bookshelves we bought and assembled are very nice, but my hands-down favorite are the lighted bookshelves!

I love how easy it is to read the titles, even on the oldest and most worn spines,

and really I love the soft glow that showcases my beloved friends books;

especially at night!

Sunday, July 28, 2013

The Bookshelf Saga: Part 1

When we moved from Tennessee to Washington, we had 33 boxes of books, and by the time we moved into this log house, I had collected just a few more.
(Boxes?  Or books?  I'm not telling!  My husband's reading this!)

That collection has grown even more during the years we've lived here, but they're (mostly) for school, and I like to plan ahead, so...

We want to put in some really cool built-in shelves along these walls on the upstairs landing, but in the meantime, my shelves were cardboard boxes, stacked up on top of each other and reinforced with boards between layers.

The shelves along this adjacent wall were even worse:

and there was no improving them.  In the last configuration the box-shelves were five rows tall instead of the three in this picture, with no wooden bookcase and with less uniformly sized boxes.
And the top two rows were starting to lean forward away from the wall.


To save our children's skulls and their mother's sanity, we bought some "temporary" bookshelves for the larger wall,

and my husband built "rustic" temporary bookshelves for me along the short wall.

But my husband doesn't do things half way.

He built "rustic" temporary bookshelves for me...
...with built-in lighting on each shelf!

The rest of the story (or at least more pictures) is coming soon!