A really good day

I’m generally not a fan of “National X day” (except national donut/chocolate/or coffee day), but today is National Adoption Day, which is a fantastic use of a otherwise pointless habit. If you mark it in no other way, read this wonderful article by  Joleigh Little. Joleigh once wrangled my young and foolish self as an intern and now is wrangling (and being wrangled by) the amazing Clara.

A taste:

That doesn’t mean I love the poverty, the drug or alcohol abuse, the death or the other horrible circumstances that make adoption necessary. But I sure as holy horse radish love the solution! I love that there IS a solution and I love that it’s a good solution.

Read the whole thing.

national adoption month

(True story, when I was a 19 year old intern, I thought she was a much older and wiser woman. She’s maybe four years older than me. And I have stories that call into question the “wiser” adjective as well.)

Fine Arts Friday: Thanksgiving Art

Despite the fact that Christmas trees and decorations are up all over North Texas, I continue to cling to the crazy idea that Thanksgiving should come and go before we deck the halls and falalalala.  Ahem.

Some Thanksgiving art, folk songs, and hymns to enhance your holiday.

First the art. (Bonus art: some of the classic Saturday Evening Post Thanksgiving covers.)

"The First Thanksgiving cph.3g04961" by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris - This image is available from the United States Library of Congress's Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID cph.3g04961.This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. See Commons:Licensing for more information.العربية | čeština | Deutsch | English | español | فارسی | suomi | français | magyar | italiano | македонски | മലയാളം | Nederlands | polski | português | русский | slovenčina | slovenščina | Türkçe | 中文 | 中文(简体)‎ | 中文(繁體)‎ | +/−. Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons - http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:The_First_Thanksgiving_cph.3g04961.jpg#mediaviewer/File:The_First_Thanksgiving_cph.3g04961.jpg

“The First Thanksgiving cph.3g04961″ by Jean Leon Gerome Ferris – This image is available from the United States Library of Congress’s Prints and Photographs division under the digital ID cph.3g04961.This tag does not indicate the copyright status of the attached work. A normal copyright tag is still required. See Commons:Licensing for more information.Licensed under Public domain via Wikimedia Commons -

And folksongs. (Did you know this was a Thanksgiving song? Some people put “Christmas” instead of Thanksgiving. Those people hate pie.)

And a bunch of Thanksgiving hymns.

Enjoy your thankfulness!

What we do on Thursday

I’m still without my laptop, but I have my phone and the inconvenient computer in the family room. So today, you see what we do on Thursday. (Yes, it looks like a simple, quick blog post. But with this hand-crank computer, it took an hour to get the photos resized and uploaded, in which time I could have written a real post. The irony isn’t lost on me.)

Thursday, the oldest child has biology at a university model school about 25 minutes from our house. It’s too far to drop her off, and I can’t afford to lose a whole morning schooling, so while she gets sciency, we head to the library to do our work.

Sprite has the sweetest set-up. The library has a teen room that is reserved seating for students in 6th through 12th grades only. They have the best chairs and couches in the joint; I’m jealous.

sprite library

The boys and I do have a nice, sunny spot to do their work. And if they get done in time *ahem*, they can go watch the 3-D printer in action. Except the library just moved it, so we’ll have to hunt it down. Should they ever have time. *ahem* (Yes, I know they need haircuts.)

boys library

My seat is the most dangerous: a perfect view of the books and other items for sale. Today I found Molly’s Pilgrim (af), a book I looked for last year during our American History studies. But it’s lovely twist on the traditional Thanksgiving stories, so I got it. Fifty cents! It’s a bargain!

library view

This is what Jack does on Thursday. This is what Jack does every day. Satchmo wrote him a thank you note for his grammar lesson: “Thank you for being lazy.” He’s very good at it.

Jack Lazy


Technical difficulities

I am currently without a laptop because my case broke, and we’re sending it in for a replacement. That makes blogging (and schooling, bill paying, etc) difficult. So you get what you get.

You get good doggies! I hate those stupid elves.

good doggies

You also get one smart chick, er turkey.  I want someone to try this at a bar when some guy won’t leave you alone. Make sure you video it! (You have to watch the whole thing. Trust me.)


Found at Twenty-Two Words.

Terrible Tuesday: Good intentions vs. warm bed

Last night, the Leonid meteor shower peaked. Despite being bone tired, I duly set my alarm for 1 a.m. But at 1 a.m., that part of my brain that would really like just five minutes of peace and a good night sleep for once, dangit, said, “Don’t you dare.” So I didn’t. There should be meteors for the next couple of days, so I may try again tonight.

Missed opportunity links!

How to make friends as an adult. I’m not saying I need this. But I’m not NOT saying I need this.

As homeschoolers, my kids do not know the joy of school book fairs. Poor them. As a homeschool mom, I get the joy of Scholastic Warehouse sale. It’s good to be queen! Or “homeschool personnel,” as the case may be.

European study correlates raw milk with fewer colds and infections. No, correlation is not causation, but it’s one more data point in favor of raw milk. That and the yummy taste!

These seem like nice kids to visit. I wonder if I can go and get tea and gentle handling.

Beautiful and intriguing: a man has taken a picture of his wife and her sisters every year for forty years.

I actually feel a bit guilty for linking to this, because I can see it sucking you in for hours and hours. (Ask me how I know.) But it’s too great not to share: The Kids Should See This is a collection of fascinating videos that kids of all ages will love.

Brilliant way to make your enemies work against themselves. (Turn on close captioning.)

2 ways to deal

There are two ways to deal with a cold Monday with a broken computer, a sick husband, and a general presence of grumpiness.

The first:


Or this:


Just dance, people. It’ll warm you up!

It’s also the anniversary of Lucy first pulling the football away from Charlie Brown. Coincidence it falls on a Monday? I. Think. Not! (Well, actually, it is a coincidence, it just seems very appropriate today.)



I can do this?

MTG has been ill since Thursday evening, but this was a softball tourney weekend, plus the regular stuff, and we had a craft date with friends, so I did some extra hustling. And we realized after the 30 minute drive home that we forgot the fancy (and not ours) camera at the ball park last night, so that was fun drive back while praying hard that the park gate hadn’t been locked already. It wasn’t, thank you, Jesus.

I also have two hard deadlines tomorrow and really ought to get school stuff together for tomorrow so my children can be educated. Plus I have to go over The Iliad books 13 through 16 with the girls tonight, a.k.a. two days after I was scheduled to do it. We’re already ridiculously off schedule. Then there’s the other stuff: the cleaning and organizing and making appointments and paying bills and general stuff of life that must be done.  I can do this. No problem.


If you need me, you’ll find me  curled into a ball, weeping. At least in my head.


I wish I were a dog. Or at least had a dog’s life. Or this dog’s life, anyway.

Snuggled Jack

Chain, unbroken. Also: to-do list, uncompleted; school work, ungraded; body, unbathed; and house, uncleaned. But the #%*! chain is unbroken.

Fine Arts Friday: Dark, beautiful, and cold

Astronomy is one of our families hobbies, and tonight we’re going star watching with a group of middle school students, so I thought I’d share some of the resources we’ll be using to take them on a tour of the night sky and sky-watching tools in general. (Note: if I don’t post after this, know that I froze to death tonight.)

We’ll have a couple of telescopes and some binoculars for the kids to look through, but one of the great things about astronomy is that you don’t have to have the special equipment to start. You just have to have some patience, a spot away from bright lights, and a head that swivels up. Actually, if you don’t have that last one, you can lie on your back and you’ll be set. Want to know what you’ll see when you look up? Skymaps publishes free monthly star maps that show what you’ll see shortly after sunset. It lists the things you can see with a telescope, with binoculars, and with the visible eye. At the top right of the map, you’ll find the time the map is valid. For November, it’s 8pm at the beginning of the month and 7pm at the end of the month. It’s for 40° N, and we’re about 7 degrees further south, so it’s not exact, but it’s a good place to start.

For the exact view of your own personal night sky, Stellarium is a perfect tool. Actually, Stellarium is my favorite astronomy tool, period. It’s a free(!) computer program that you can set to your location. It has various tools, including the sky lore of many cultures. It’s easy to use and you can adjust the time so that you know what to look for if, for example, you want to watch the Leonids peak Monday and Tuesday night.

Stellarium also has a phone app, which I have come to prefer over Google Sky Maps, which is great in theory. It is suppose to be a “point your phone at the sky and the GPS coordinates will show you exactly what you’re looking at.” Unfortunately, it tends to be off just enough so as to not be helpful unless you know what you’re looking at already, and then what’s the point? Far better to know your cardinal position and become familiar with noticeable stellar landmarks.

Stellarium nov 14

With a good sky map or Stellarium, you can usually find your way around the sky from there. And every time you find a new star or galaxy or constellation, you’ve added to your own personal toolbox of landmarks. For example, the five visible planets are usually easy to spot. Mars is the only one currently visible in the evening sky, but the students will easily be able to spot the red planet setting in the Western Sky at around 7 pm. Jupiter is visible before dawn. Venus–both the evening and morning stars depending on her mood, er position–is currently indisposed, but she’ll be back in the evening sky in December.

Once you start looking up, you’ll find you want to know more. Fortunately, astronomers are incredibly generous with their knowledge (see: Stellarium) and there are more free resources than you can shake a stick at. I subscribe to the Earth and Sky newsletter and get a head’s up on what’s up for that night and instructions on how to find particular stars. I found another great tool for beginning stargazers, the One Minute Astronomer. He has a free book(let) to get you started on reading star maps.

In addition to finding a few stars and constellations tonight, we’ll tell the students where they can watch for the Leonids meteor shower when they peak Monday night and Tuesday morning. (Mom! I have to stay up past midnight! It’s for science!) The Leonids “come from” the constellation Leo, which will be in the Eastern sky. You don’t actually have to know where Leo is to watch for meteors, just look Easterly. Earth and Sky has a great article on viewing tips for the Leonids.

Happy stargazing!

Screw your courage to the sticking place

My friend Erika Franz tipped me off to this amazing video series, C.S. Lewis Doodle.  (The embedding feature is disabled. Do check it out.) I haven’t watched them all yet, but I’m impressed with with what I’ve seen so far in the two from The Screwtape Letters. Those videos use the amazing radio theater production, which is now on my wishlist.

Which made me think of my favorite quote from Screwtape and one of my favorite quotes of all Lewis’s works.

Courage lewis

The full quote is even more powerful, and more challenging:

 “This, indeed, is probably one of the Enemy’s motives for creating a dangerous world–a world in which moral issues really come to the point. He sees as well as you do that courage is not simply one of the virtues, but the form of every virtue at the testing point, which means, at the point of highest reality. A chastity or honesty, or mercy, which yields to danger will be chaste or honest or merciful only on conditions. Pilate was merciful till it became risky.”

 We are all “good” until the rubber meets the road. Then we find out who the righteous really are.

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