Homeschool Review: Week 2

I have no intention of doing this every week, as I would prefer to keep this blog more craft oriented, but as I have no created a homeschool specific blog (haven’t thought of a name yet), this will be where I post some homeschool thoughts.

This week was a bit tougher than last week. It was our first four day week (Fridays are library/activity days), and our first week with math.

While Kostya progressed through the first 20 reading lessons in three days last week, we have since slowed down significantly as he comes across new, less familiar sounds and letter combinations (one of our successes was mastering “th” this week!). There are things about early learning that I sometimes take for granted that I have to back up and teach him, like sentences ending with a period. He rolls along with things rather well, though. He still enjoys the lessons and sometimes asks for extra after lunch. I have a collection of Bob Books, so after he’s learned new sounds, I pull out the books that have those sounds for extra practice.

Writing is still slow as molasses, but that is okay. We are almost finished with Lesson 2 of the Memoria Press Copybook. I suppose I could lay off writing entirely and he would be fine, but I think that as long as we move gently through this, it will be okay. Kostya is always asking me to write lists and letters, and I’d like to give him the tools to do so ASAP. I may change my tune later, but I don’t want to stop writing completely. Not unless he shuts down with it.

Math has been interesting. Like I wrote before, I am hoping to use Math U See Alpha. Now, I think brain wise, Kostya is more than ready for the concepts, but after viewing the DVD that came with the program, I realized that format would probably not work with Kostya at his current maturity level, and might move too fast. What I’ve done is reviewed the first few lessons and broken them down into teeny, tiny pieces. Actually, here we are at the end of week 2 and I still haven’t even said “Place Value”. Only today, day 4 of math lessons, did I bring out the blocks and show how they were organized and divided. We spent the first three days practicing how to write numbers correctly and legibly, and since writing is the hardest for Kostya, we still have a long way to go. Today I made a simple worksheet of single digit addition problems with no carrying, and even though Kostya could read the problems out and answer them quickly with and without the blocks, writing the answer down was a huge stumbling block, so I think next week I will lay off writing numerals and just let him dictate the answers to me and I’ll think of another way to bring in writing the numbers at a later time. I want so badly for him to enjoy math as he has done so far and to not be frustrated.

Another  little hiccup, which I understand is totally age appropriate, is his ability to listen and repeat back to me a story I’ve read. I’m reading short Bible stories to him, and only a fraction of the time is he able to tell me anything back in the story. Today’s problems were more behavioral than ability, though, as he got tired of listening to me and walked out of the room in the middle of the story. We had a chat afterwards about how that was unkind, and that it was very important to listen, because in order to learn, we *must* listen. I told him trying his best in his schooling was not at all about pleasing me, but that in order to be the man God has designed him to be he must try his best, and that means listening. I do not ask or expect perfection, but I do want him to try. He cried, and we hugged and I told him how much I enjoyed our time together, how much I loved him, and how honored I was that he was my son. Then we sat and read the story again, this time while he played with blocks, and he was able to retell a bit back to me. I was very surprised when he cried. He doesn’t often show disappointment with himself and I hope I wasn’t too harsh (hence all the hugging and kissing afterward).

And then there is Yuri. My sweet Yuri, who spent all last week sweetly sitting next to us, coloring away. Yeah, that’s completely gone. I think he must be going through some development spurt, because his food intake has nearly doubled this week and his behavior is a dumpster fire. Oh, and he’s actually napping right now. Yeah, there must be some serious brain growth happening. Totally appropriate for his age, but man it’s frustrating. He has colored all over every page of Kostya’s. He tells me “NO!” after every request. He takes things out of Kostya’s hands and close fisted hits him for no reason, and seems to take joy in destroying everything Kostya builds. I think he is an expert in the “terrible twos”. Weather the storm, I guess.


A year in review – instagram inspiration part 2 (the bad)

I’m only weeeeks behind on getting this out. Sorry, all my six readers.

Now, like in my previous post (if you skip the hockey one I reblogged – sorry, but that was an amazing night and game and no I’m actually not sorry I reblogged), I highlighted several things I thought were super great about what using Instagram can do for quilt inspiration. But with good things, there are often downsides, and I know I have definitely come across a few.

1)FABRIC TEMPTATION. Seriously, I have probably spent more money this past year on fabric than everything I ever purchased up to last year, including non fabric quilting supplies. Fabric is gorgeous, and when everyone posts their latest purchase and happy mail from conventions and sales and shops, it’s really hard to resist. With Instagram, you can also follow designers and shops directly, and so you see the latest lines and all the sales. It isn’t just stores and shops that are the problem, either. See, there is this little hashtag called #thegreatfabricdestash with THOUSANDS of posts of users destashing some of their fabric stash. It’s usually at at least a slightly discounted price, and a lot of it is OOP, so that can be a problem. I am usually a little late to the ball game with big destashes, so I haven’t purchased a lot. Tula Pink goes especially fast, and the prices can get really high, so I’ve actually taken to make sure I don’t follow any destash accounts and I avoid Instagram when one of the people I follow regularly hosts a destash because I just don’t want the temptation to get caught up in it all, and believe me, it is really easy to get caught up in the frenzy of fabric purchases, especially when something highly sought after is on the line.

2) Every thing starts to look the same. I don’t mean this as an insult to anyone, because certainly everyone buts a lot of effort into every thing that they make, but after a while, it seems a lot of the work people make tends to start resembling each other, and it’s quite hard to really stand out and find your own voice. Now, a lot of quilters really just like to make what they know looks good, and I don’t think there is anything wrong at all with making a trendy quilt in a trendy quilt pattern with the latest fabrics, but for me, it’s started to become a bit much. I suppose there is a safety in knowing what already looks good, and like I said, that really is okay, I’m just a bit weary, creatively, from it all. A lot can be learned from mimicking other artists and quilters, and I’ve certainly made some cookie cutter quilts, but I’ve learned enough now that I really want to branch out and find where I stand in it all.

3) Extreme sadness when my quilt friends get to go do cool things and I can’t. I’m just three hours from where Quiltcon was held this year, and because of other things going on around that time, I couldn’t go. I signed up for classes and everything, and missed one of the biggest quilting events of the year, where pretty much my entire list of IG friends were. I had to not look at IG that whole week because everyone was sharing awesome purchases, amazing quilts, and getting to hang out with each other. It made me sad.

And that’s really about it for me on the bad. I have another post on quilt swaps which will hopefully not take a month to write. Thanks!

Celestial Star QAL update

Here is the progress I’ve made on my celestial star. I’m enjoying the paper piecing, although it’s a bit more tedious an involved, especially the cutting, but that might be because I’m new at this and don’t really know what I’m doing.

After we got home from vacation, I was able to get all of the pieces cut

Last night I was able to get some pieces put together (not much)

I’m pretty happy with how things are turning out. The host has some great tutorials and detailed explanations, and it’s been fun starting to get to know some of the other people participating.

I hope to make a lot more progress tonight, so I’ll get pictures of the finished top soon.

This is completely off topic, but when we got home one of our caterpillars had come out of it’s cocoon, and it’s so pretty I wanted to share. It’s called a black swallowtail, and the caterpillars live in parsley plants. Next year I’m planting a ton more.

Oh oh! And switching directions AGAIN, here is my Sunday Stash.

Ever since I’ve started hanging around modern quilt circles, I’ve come across Tula Pink now and then. I wasn’t sure if I was a fan at first, but the more I see her designs the more I like them, so I’ve been trying to pick up my favorites. Unfortunately, some of them are out of print and it’s been a little difficult to track down some pieces that don’t cost a million trillion dollars, and I don’t have the money to become a “collector”. It’s a real temptation, because the fabrics are pretty and I want them, but they are expensive if they are no longer in print, and when I get them I worry about picking out the *perfect* project for them, and I hope I never get to the point where I think “But I paid $$$ for these, I *can’t* cut into them!!” because I need to remind myself fabric is made to be used. Fabric is made to be used. Yes it’s inspirational, and I don’t need to chop everything up, but getting pretty fabrics can be addicting and it’s tempting for this to get out of control.

Molli Sparkles

Ready for a laugh?


i am the walrus

Pregnancy bigness happens so fast that I often wake up and completely forget I’m as big as a house. Finding clothing that fits comfortably has been an issue the whole pregnancy, and not being able to move like a normal person gets me down sometimes. But there was a kind man at Mass this morning who told me I “looked beautiful”, so that was nice! And at least the belly sticks out more than the bottom, which was a problem for a while.

And for fun, my darling little Kostya –

new spiderman costume!

new spiderman costume!

I’m procrastinating a bit by posting this picture. What I should be doing is 1)ironing the BoTMs I completed last night (I KNOW! I actually got to do some fun sewing!) 2)writing a proper update for this blog 3)packing and sorting and 4) planning future garden stuff.

i’ve got this terrible problem…

All my life I’ve been burdened by one particular, terrible problem. It’s silly, really, but as I look back at so many of the decisions I’ve made and the things I’ve done, there is a dark cloud that hangs over everything.

It’s not so much a lack of creativity, although that is one manifestation of this issue. My problem, I think, is that I am, and always have been, terribly concerned of what people might think of me. About anything – from the very important to the ridiculous why-would-anyone-else-give-that-a-second-thought. It hampers my happiness and keeps me from expressing myself and has destroyed my creativity and my ability to truly express myself.

I’m always boxing myself into following my own made up rules about nearly everything. Take this blog, as an example. I originally made it as a bit of a craft log, but I’ve tied myself up over entries wondering if I’m doing it the “right” way by posting several projects at once, or should I do them separately, or if my pictures are good enough, or if my work is good enough, and so on.

I cannot put together an outfit, save for jeans and a t shirt, that I wonder if it matches, if I look silly, if the clothes look too big, or (the worst and most common thought) if I only look like I’m trying to be fashionable, but and really just a big fat poser and everyone who looks at me will think I’m just trying too hard.

I’ve wanted to write a story for years, but I can’t bring myself to put pen to paper, even if my work will never see the light of day. I could make up anything I want, but instead I think, “no, this idea is too far fetched”, “my grammar is too poor”, “this whole idea is ridiculous. x and y would never meet this way”, “this information is not factual, so I cannot use it (despite the numerous and sometimes wonderful alternative history fictions I’ve come across). It’s stupid, really. So with nearly everything, I am stuck just copying what other people do – putting together Frankenstein’s of what I’ve read or heard or seen.

It’s as though I can’t walk my own road, I have to walk one that’s been paved before me. It’s miserable. I don’t know how to stop.

I didn’t do anything this week.

I’ve been so terrible at updating this week. There won’t be any pictures in this post either, because I’ve not really done enough to warrant taking a picture to show.

My etsy shop has been very busy, and so I have spent most of my sewing time trying to keep on top of my orders. I have a lot more custom orders this month because there are a lot of weddings, and so that tends to take up a lot more time. I’ve also orded lots of new fabrics for the fall and winter, and getting those ready to be photographed and then listed will take up a great deal more time. I’ve realized I have to start work on new fabrics about six month in advance of when I want to get them out because it takes me FOREVER. I was able to get out a few 4th of July fabrics for next month just a few weeks ago, and there are still some I haven’t finished (and so they probably won’t be ready in time… I’ll just have to list them next year).

I did go to a quilt guild meeting last Tuesday, and met a lot of wonderful ladies and saw a lot of lovely quilts. I think I may join it to expose myself to other quilters.

As far as my UFO June is going – it’s going pretty poorly. I did go through my projects, and I was able to discern whether or not some of them were even worth it. I looked through my Christmas stocking that I had begun, and the quality was not something I liked very much. I started those when  I was still so new at sewing, and didn’t understand things like interfacing, or that I could choose different ones other than what the pattern called for. What the pattern called for was so hard for me to work with, and made everything so stiff. My stitches were awful, too. So I salvaged the big pieces of fabric and threw the rest away. Maybe some other time. Or maybe I’ll just buy nice stockings.

I also went through my apron pattern. I had only cut out the pattern pieces for that, and not any of the fabric. I decided that since I didn’t even have a kitchen at the moment, and I don’t wear aprons when I cook anyway, that there was no point in making something that no one was going to use and would probably look bad anyway, so I put the pattern pieces away and incorporated the fabric into my stash. I may try some simple cotton skirts in the future.

I don’t know how much I’ll get done in this coming week, either. I have to take my son to the doctor and get myself in for some issues and a physical, and finish more etsy orders.

Back from vacation!

I just got back from a very lovely, and much desired vacation with my husband and son. We traveled to Hot Springs, Arkansas. James and I like to go their when we need a bit of time off because it’s within driving distance, has plenty of things to do that fit our interests, and it is never very expensive.

As always, I packed a ton of crafts to do during my down time, and didn’t touch a single one. I wonder, truly, how much space I could save if I packed what I knew I would actually use on a trip. This time I packed some yarn for a granny square blanket I’ve got in the works, my nook, a copy of the Lord of the Rings I’ve started, a notebook for writing, and my brother’s Nintendo DS with Pokemon Black. All of this for three nights and four days. And guess what I actually worked on? Not a darn thing. I didn’t touch a single one except to move around to get to something else! During our down time, I just sat and watched TV with my husband, or played on the playground with my son.

We did get out and walk around a bit, and I got to go to my very first spa! It was WONDERFUL! I vowed to myself to save up to do it at least once a year or something, and maybe one time even drag James along. The spa I went to was called the Quapaw Bathhouse, on Bathhouse Row, a street full of early 20th century bathhouses that used to be full to the brim with the wealthy taking their leisurely health baths.

Some are shut down for restoration, but many have been fully restored and are open to the public. It was really quite neat, and like I said, I loved going. There was a little mishap, which resulted in probably one of the most embarrassing experiences in my life, but since this is a public blog I’m not going to say anything other than I felt like what a 13 year old girl must feel like when her monthly visitor shows up for the first time ever unexpectedly in the middle of 6th period gym class, or something like it. All I’m saying is that the woman at the front told me to come downstairs wearing nothing but “my robe and my smile”, so I did. I didn’t know you could wear more than that.

The massage was great. After my little accident, I wasn’t in the mood for some handsome, muscular or drop dead beautiful massage therapist. God is good though, and looked out for me, even over something as insignificant as that, and my massage therapist was a wonderful woman called Miss Mae and, according to her, she is the longest working licensed massage therapist in the state of Arkansas at 54 years. She’s in her 80’s and her hands worked magic.

After that, we spent a day in Texarkana, a lovely town that feels a lot smaller than it actually is, and visited with lots of old friends at the Scout O Rama (my husband and his close friends are all still very involved with the BSA).

I’d also like to mention that there was steak. Lots of steak.

In all, it was a great time, but I didn’t make any progress on anything this blog is supposed to be about. I hope you can forgive me! Don’t worry though, I’m already back on the saddle with my sewing, and I hope to have a “guest” blogger or two (in the form of very crafty sisters in law) in the very near future. Once I figure out how to do that, that is.