Monthly Archives: July 2011

1860s Croquet at Fort Vancouver

Tonight is one of Fort Vancouver’s “Evening on the Row” activities: Young ladies will be playing croquet, showing off the latest attire (if you happen to live in the 1860s!). Come and enjoy a pleasant summer eve’s occupation!

From the Fort Calendar:

Evening on the Row: 1860s Croquet, Grant House
Friday, July 29, 2011 6:30 PM – 7:30 PM
Location(s): Officers Row

Fridays at 6:30 p.m. through September 9: This summer program marks the 150th commemoration of the Civil War. Join costumed National Park Service staff and volunteers for a game of croquet at the Grant House, 1101 Officers Row, Vancouver, WA 98661. For details, call the Fort Vancouver Visitor Center, 360-816-6230.

Barb Shelton in Portland, August 20!

Barb Shelton, author of Senior High: A Home-Designed Form+U+La, will be speaking in Portland, OR on August 20. The event runs from 8:30am to 5:30pm.

The theme for the day is “Refreshment, Re-focus, and Equipping.”

Find all the details here:

Registering is an easy process:

Read the info, print out the registration form (click the link under
“How to Register”), and mail to Barb. There are three ways to pay:
– Paypal (click the Paypal button)
– Check or Credit Card (click the Order button)

The seminar is at Western Seminary. From I-84 go south on 39th to
Hawthorne (there’s a Fred Meyer on the corner). Turn left on Hawthorne
(east). Turn left on 55th and then the first right (Madison) to get to
the chapel parking lot.

Get directions from Mapquest or Google Maps with this address:

5511 NE Hawthorne Street, Portland, OR 97215

Registration deadline is August 17th, and space is limited, so
register early. Cost is $25 per mom (dads and teens come free).

Tell your friends! Hope to see you there!

Confessions of an Organized Homeschool Mom, revisited

In case you thought I meant myself, well…

That’s so not me. But I’m working hard at it. Have been spending three hours a day, once our schedule emptied out for the summer, going through the piles. Dejunk, recycle, donate, you name it.

Letting go

One of the things I’ve had to let go is my perfectionism (Down, I tell you! Down!) It would be really nice, say, to have a garage sale of all the stuff we’re getting rid of. However, I realized that such a thing would be a downer, a drag, in other words, putting on the brakes. It would add a level of organization to a job that is, frankly, almost overwhelming. You stuff your house full of two decades worth of accumulation, with only two real dejunking sessions over that span of time, and you’ll see what I’m talking about. Sono Harris, with her annual (or was it every six months?) purge, had a better idea.

If it must be done, ’twere better done quickly

No, I have to get the stuff out of the house quickly, while my resolve is firm. Having it pile up in the garage, waiting for a yard sale, is too much of an energy drain.

Recycle — for budget-friendly dejunking

It’s as much as I can stand to recycle, and the main reason I do that is that recycling gets hauled away “for free” while additional trash bags (if they don’t fit in the trash can) generate a fee of about $10 each. A dumpster is several hundred dollars. It’s amazing how much you can cut down the trash going out for collection if you separate out the paper and plastic. Oh, and it fits with today’s environmental focus, too.

I’m really good at sorting. It’s the “getting rid of” or “letting go” that has stymied me to this point. Recycling is sorting, so it’s not that hard. Storing up treasure for a garage sale is a sort of extended “letting go” that I know I can’t manage at this point. Maybe once I’m organized I can do a regular purge-and-garage-sale, but I know I’d just be throwing an obstacle in my way if I tried to do it during this huge take-back-the-house campaign.

Got to keep the momentum going.

(If you, on the other hand, want to profit from your purging, go for it. I hear that it’s a good idea to price as you go — then you don’t have to go through that pile of stuff in the garage yet another time and make more decisions. Either that, or hold a sale on a donation basis. Let people offer what they think an item is worth.)

I’m not going to offer before-and-after pictures on the blog. While I’ve found these motivating, on other blogs, I don’t really want to show the world all my clutter. You’ll just have to take my word for it. There’s a lot of it around, sitting in piles. Some of the piles are neat. Some piles are hiding in boxes, masquerading as organized clutter. (There’s an oxymoron for you.)

And for another thing, I can’t find the charger for my camera battery. I’m hoping it will emerge sooner than later, as the clutter gets moved out of here.

Confessions of an Organized Mom" blog

Not mine. From "Confessions of an Organized Mom" blog. Mine may look this bad. Or worse. Or maybe not as bad. But it's getting better. (Monty Python, anyone?)

In other news, the Organized Homeschool Mom blog has moved, so I thought I’d post the updated link for your convenience. Good stuff there.

Happy organizing! Is that an oxymoron, too? Well, no, I don’t think so. Though I used to have anxiety attacks when I’d try to get rid of stuff, this time, it’s getting easier to let go with each load that leaves the house. We can talk more about that later, I hope.

A light that shines in the darkness

Long my imprisoned spirit lay,
Fast bound by sin and nature’s night.
Thine eye diffused a quick’ning ray—
I woke, the dungeon flamed with light.
My chains fell off; my heart was free!
I rose, went forth, and followed Thee.

Amazing love, how can it be,
That Thou, my God, should’st die for me?

(Charles Wesley, 1738)

(for tune and more verses, click here)

Natural cleaners

I was going to do a post using the Simple Woman’s Daybook prompts, but ran out of time. Then I thought about doing a Gratituesday post, but again, while I have more blessings than I can count, I have no more online time today!

So instead, I’ll post a link to an article I just printed out, about natural cleaners. Looks like some good recipes, some of them similar to what I’m already using.

The reason I went searching for info on natural cleaners today, was because I still use bleach in one area… no, two areas.

1) laundry – specifically, unmentionables. Those things can really use disinfecting. I’d like to do something else. I’ve heard of using hydrogen peroxide or tea tree oil, but never specifics, like how many drops (of the oil) per load, and if you need to dilute it in anything before adding, or how much peroxide to add per load. Help?

2) kitchen sink – My kitchen sink is white porcelain, and it can get pretty stained. Every few months I’ll fill it to the brim with hot water and add a cup of bleach, then let it soak for an hour or more (often when we’re going to be away from home). I first got this tip from the FlyLady, and it works beautifully. Doesn’t scratch my old sink, either. How else to get the stains out?

If you have any insights, please share! (How much tea tree oil, for example, or how much peroxide, or would peroxide work to make my sink white and shiny, or is there something else?)

Sermon Notes

Yesterday’s sermon was by a guest speaker. I wish I could tell you his name — he was pleasant but thought-provoking.

He spoke on the jealous nature of God.

My first thought:
He is jealous for me,
Loves like a hurricane, I am a tree…

(you can find lyrics and videos of this song if you do an internet search)

Then I really settled down to listening and taking notes. I had a quibble at first; the speaker gave several illustrations of jealousy which sounded more like envy or covetousness to me, you know, wanting what someone else has. Arrgh, I’d give you an example or two but I didn’t write them down since they didn’t make sense to me in the context of jealousy.

I haven’t taken the time to look it up or do a word study yet, but my impression of jealousy is that it’s something you feel regarding a possession of your own, like a dog with a meaty bone.

(God can afford to be jealous. He owns everything. People? I’m not so sure about how appropriate jealousy is for people.)

Once we got past that quibble (on my part, with notes to myself to look up “jealousy” and “covetousness”), the sermon was sound. Scriptures mentioned dealt with the LORD’s possessiveness of His special people, beginning with the blessings and curses in Deuteronomy, followed by passages in Hosea and Ezekiel about His dealings with His all-too-often wayward people.

I’ve been mentally chewing this food for thought since then. To summarize: Our God is a jealous God, and He insists on being first in our affections, our focus, our motivations, our thoughts and actions.  (See Deut. 6:5, Matthew 22:36-40, and Luke 10:27 for more.) While “love of money” may be “the root of all evil,” love of anything more than God is idolatry.

Examining priorities: How do I spend my time? How does my life reflect my priorities? Sobering stuff. Time to get off the computer and back on track.

Summer Boot Camp at Virtual Nerd!

Just heard that Virtual Nerd is offering  Math Boot Camp.

From the source:

To help students avoid the “summer slide”, we are offering boot camps in: Pre-Algebra, Algebra I, and Algebra II. The five-week camps cost only $19! A pre-quiz will assess student’s knowledge, and weekly playlists will be assigned to help them attain a better understanding of the subject and build upon concept knowledge. Finally we wrap up with a quiz that assesses how far they have come! We hope you will share the good news. Get started today!

Sounds like a great idea!

I remember a math teacher telling me that, typically, the first third of a math textbook is review from the previous year, the middle third is new material, and the final third is material your usual student never gets to (it’s there for the math whizzes so they don’t run out of math before the school year ends).

Take a look at a math textbook with this in mind. They lose all that information over the summer?

Sounds like Virtual Nerd has come up with a solution to the problem.

Is it really Monday already?


Excuse me while I try to pry my eyes open and get going. It was a busy weekend, starting with a campout (what fun!) that saw us getting home at midnight in order to get to church in the morning.

Then church, then fellowship with friends who graciously invited us to their creekside home to cool off from the 90-degree temperatures — yes, we had summer style weather this weekend!

Kids begged to stay late, to play tag in the dark, and (possibly against my better judgement) I went along with it.

I think I need a weekend to get over my weekend.

Pet resource

I think the Giant Schnoz might have a UTI. She’s drinking a lot more than usual, and wanting to go out frequently, but not accomplishing a whole lot when she does go out.

I found a great online resource just now, when I went looking to confirm my suspicions.

Veterinary Information Network, courtesy of the St. Johns Veterinary Clinic.

Of course, it being the weekend, it’s going to be more expensive to get her in to see a vet. Isn’t it funny how often medical things crop up (not just for pets, but people, too) on the weekend? I’m not sure if it’s just that we’re too busy during the week to notice (or admit) that something might be wrong, or just Murphy’s Law.

Anyhow, have a great weekend! And if you’re in the Pacific NorthWest, enjoy the summer temperatures! I hear it’s supposed to cool off again by Monday.

Sad day…

It’s one of those days. I’m sad. It was hard to get out of bed this morning.

It’s one of those days. Change keeps hitting me right between the eyes.

It’s one of those days. I’m going to have to nestle in hard, like a blind puppy, trusting though my eyes have not yet opened, trusting that (as Elisabeth Elliot so often said, and pardon me for mixing my metaphors) underneath are the everlasting arms.

This is the day that the Lord hath made. I will (choose to) rejoice and be glad in it.