28 September, 2005

Donating homeschool materials

I'm looking into collecting donations with some of my local homeschooling friends of new and gently used (for all grades and ages) curriculum manuals and resources--history, math, science, art, classic books related to a particular curriculum, and school supplies. My family and I will be sending them to Project Noah to be distributed to homeschooling families who lost everything, to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

Earlier this month, we packed up almost two-full boxes of extra things that we had just sitting unused on our shelves. Some we actually tried to use, but they didn't work out for one reason or another, that we want to donate. Some are totally unused. They came so highly recommended, and I got them for such a good deal, thinking they'd be helpful when my younger children reached the age, stage for which said product was recommended.

I will ship them out in the next two weeks...perhaps even in two or three shipments, depending on how much we are able to gather.

26 September, 2005

Settling down

Our family has had exciting times of late, and been on the go with some big commitments and opportunities. My mother always told me that this season of life is the busiest. She reiterated that message to me when we saw her this past weekend, her healing leg propped up on a cushioned chair.

We all drove several hours to the city for her Mother's 90th Birthday party at the old Church of Christ building near Mammaw's home in Oklahoma, the one that holds so many special memories for me. One in particular being that it is the place where I really began to get to know my hubby back in 1984.

He was a youth minister-intern at my Grandad's congregation one summer (he was so surprised when I told him who my Grandad was-one of the elders at the church), and that is where we decided that we needed to go have lunch together a couple of times that next week. I was to head off to Germany for the summer, and he wanted to see me before I left. It is where we met up again after I returned at the end of that summer, as I went back to college a little early, staying with my Mammaw and Grandad until the dorms opened.

But back to the party...all of my aunts and uncles from both sides of the family were there, except the one who lives in Louisiana. He and his wife were waiting out Hurricane Rita. They made it through with just some fence damage and maybe a downed tree or two.

We made it home safely, and just in time to head over to our Art Gallery Photography Exhibit Reception on Saturday evening. It was *such* a special night! Even the President of Izamal, Yucatán and his wife flew in (around Hurricane Rita!) to be there with us and to give a speech. I was humbled and amazed. The Korean Missionary we stayed with in Izamal was also there for this special night of celebration.

Ds and I both have one print each that has sold so far!

I am tired, even though we had a restful Sunday and Monday. It is the *good* tired, the feeling of accomplishment. Today, I've had a lot of time to prepare for teaching American Lit. class tomorrow. I have a couple of good exercises planned regarding Benjamin Franklin's aphorisms.

I'll post more about my Grandmother and her surprise birthday party later.

For now, please go read a most inspiring post by my friend at
Liberty and Lily. Take a little time to let her words and thoughtful writing sink in. The post is titled "Ready for Anything," and I'm sure you'll agree that it is more than worth your time to read.

Goodnight, all!

19 September, 2005

Balancing Home Schooling, Co-ops, and House Cleaning

The schoolyear is well underway for my two high schoolers, one junior higher, and one fifth grader. We are working on making the best use of our time and of our physical space. We're waiting for a set of bookshelves to arrive, in order to get our home library back under control, and reclaim some much-needed floor space in the family room and master bedroom.

For some motivational impetus, I've looked back at the Fly lady website to get me started. With our house in need of serious fall decluttering, and our scheduling not easing up much in the future, the FlyLady motivation is very timely. Time has been the biggest factor in trying to meet our goals. Even writing this down takes precious time. There are almost daily trips, classes or social events of which the kids are a part...various youth group classes, activities and music (worship) practice. So much driving! Argh!

My book restoration classes end this Thursday, but I have two classes this week. My favorite teacher is moving, and the guild needs to find another conservator to take over. Until they do that will ease up my time commitments just a bit, for a short season.

Besides the amlesideonline schedule for our kiddos (history, music, art history, Shakespeare, poetry), I am teaching three academic classes that include other families along with our children. It is the most I've ever fit into a schoolyear, but it is a challenge that I am enjoying so far. The Spanish classes are my favorite! As long as everyone in our home works cooperatively, and I am able to stay on top of lesson planning and preparations, it should remain enjoyable.

Hubby and I have to keep up with grading all the kids' daily work, quizzes and tests before we go to co-op classes on Friday. This is for Biology, Algebra, and Spanish classes. Worldviews/American Lit. is more essay and discussion based.

American Lit/Worldviews class meets on Tuesdays. While I enjoy the challenge and the information, I continue to try to find activities that will keep it interesting, to balance where it is dry and difficult to understand. The ideas and comparisons can sometimes be difficult to communicate. Colorful charts are helpful, but the students eventually have to buckle down and write essays on the material each week! I get to keep up with grading :-).

It is only Monday, and I am off and running!

15 September, 2005

A Family Photographed

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

In this young girl's hands, you can see one of the many prints that we displayed at an outdoor photo exhibit at the City Hall portico in Izamal, Yucatán. After the weekend exhibit, some in our group gave photos to the families or people in the photo.

Early Morning Sites

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

A neighbor selling calabaza - squash. We bought seven or eight for ten pesos. That's less than one American Dollar...let that sink in...

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

I tried to talk Felix into letting me buy one of the piñatas they are making, but he told me that I have to come back in December! Felix is the town herbalist, and his family also makes machine embroidered dresses and purses.

Image hosted by Photobucket.com

One of a "fleet" of carriages in town.

14 September, 2005

Traditional Meal

These are a couple of pictures of the Yucatán traditional meal, which consists of small, handmade, white corn tortillas, refried black beans, chicken or other meat, grilled onion slices, rice, jícama, sliced roma tomatoes, and sometimes a sliver of avocado. Finally, it is topped off with "pico de gallo" with cilantro, salsa roja or salsa verde. It is *NEVER* served with shredded cheese. The meat could be shredded chicken, pork, beef, even deer or other meat.

The top photo is of a woman rolling fresh tortillas for the one meal we ate out at an Izamal restaurant as a group. She baked them on a thin stone over the open fire. This was the place where the traditional dish consisted of pulled deer meat...or maybe it was iguana! I think the Yucatán kids were kidding about that (smirk). The orange gourds you see in the photo are used as bowls to hold and serve the warmed tortillas at the table.

The photo in the middle is the recipe made by Gabriel and Hilda at our fiesta on the second to the last night in Izamal. The third photo is a different version of the same dish that we were served at the President's banquet given in our honor for the things we'd done for the people of Izamal. The juice drink is called "Jamaica" juice...pronounced "Hahm-ah-ee-kah." We were told that it was very healthy.

It is an incredibly yummy meal (especially when one is very hungry, as we were several times on the trip). I have prepared it for my own family at least twice since our trip last month...and they really liked it!

12 September, 2005

Mayan Pyramid

Mayan Pyramid ~ Uxmal

This was one of the hottest Days for us in the Yucatán last month. Instead of resting during the heat of the day, we took a day trip to Uxmal, about a four hours' drive from where we were staying. The heat and humidity, combined with a bumpy, long bus ride, took its toll on a few people. In spite of all those difficulties, I think it was worth it. It was our first day trip to see any Mayan pyramids, other than the mounds of ruins and mayan stones we had access to in Izamal.

08 September, 2005

Photograpy Exhibition

Update 9/10/05

Hubby's and my friend, the photography teacher, helped me get my photos framed, and even encouraged me by framing a couple of the photos for me that I entered in our Photo Exhibition in Izamal. They were some of his favorites that he really wanted to see in this gallery exhibition. Now I have six 11 x 14's and three 16 x 20's entered.

I am hoping these exhibitions bring attention to the non-profit organization that we are working on developing, to help the people of Izamal to help realize their cultural identity again, and find some hope for supporting themselves and their families. The local mayor down in the Yucatán and other officials are helping us in any way that they can!

post script to:

DS and I worked on six - 8 x 10 photos each today, twelve in all. These photos are from our Photo Safari ~ Project Izamal, Yucatán. We printed them at Grandma's house, and measured and cut the 11 x 14 mat boards at hubby's school this afternoon. My son even got his all framed by the evening. I was able to frame one (my favorite) scene in a 16 x 20 mat and frame, and framed up one of my 11 x 14's. It is also one of my favorites, and is a protrait of a lady in red who sold squash around town from her bicycle.

I still have to go back up to the photography room tomorrow after our co-op classes and frame 5 more of mine. We were able to enter more photos than originally expected! Yes!!

We set up the exhibition next Tuesday evening, with a big reception on the 24th of September.

07 September, 2005

My teacher is moving

Well, it is official. My Advanced Book Restoration teacher is moving to North Carolina in a few weeks. The school has GOT to find a replacement, but until that time, I will have to be patient. The lab and workshop will remain open, and basic bookbinding classes will continue to meet, but it's not the same. It's just not Sally, with her vast years of experience. I have learned so much, and been pushed to trust what I've learned. There is still so much more to grasp and understand. Different scenarios and materials from various centuries have specific requirements in conservation and restoration. I've gained a lot of knowledge and skill with paper and with cloth-boarded books...but I've just barely begun to work with leather!


05 September, 2005

The Calm morning

This is the calm before another busy week filled with many commitments. I savor quiescence! My fluffy behemoth of an orange tabby lies curled in my lap as I type. His soft purring is a comfort. Hubby returns tonight from a camping trip with his old, best buddies from adulthood. This is a traditional trip they take to go to New Mexico each summer to hunt...well...to pick Hatch Green Chiles, fresh from the harvest and ready for roasting for their families and friends.

This is one of three times per year that the kids and I rent movies and have a weekend movie-festival while he's away. We were able to find some selections at the library, and some we rented. We found all of Season One of the series "24" with Kiefer Southerland, which is about the stressful adventures of a CTU agent. We just started watching "24" this past season, since it wasn't convenient to our schedule before that. We really don't have time for TV, and it stays off almost all the time, now. That is a big accomplishment for me and the kids. Overall, watching the DVD's without commercials was so much more efficient!

This holiday, hurricane relief help is also on our minds, so we are packing up items to donate and looking for places where we can lend helping hands.

Today, I will be picking the last of the pears from our pear tree. With no time to make pear butter this year, as is my usual September activity with my kiddos, I am selling them, to help pay for the rising cost of gasoline.

Tomorrow is American Lit class, so I've got to get the last of the lesson plans and quiz in order before we do anything else today. We also start the rest of our classes in our home school this week. Preparation for my two Spanish classes on Friday has to fit in this week, as well.

At some point in the next three days, my oldest son and I have to get three 8 x 10 photos each printed, matted, and mounted for the Art Gallery that is hosting our Izamal Project photos from the Yucatán. Then there's bookbinding and restoration projects that I'm trying to finish up for two customers in the next two weeks. Gotta run!

Have a good week, all!


02 September, 2005

Prayer Avails Much

For those of you following Sheryl's journey, you really should go read the blog today.

The Lord has really given her a turnaround! SHE was telling ME about a 50% off sale on fleece this weekend at one of the fabric stores...and she shared her extra beverages from her small food tray, so we had tea together :-).

The Lord is truly glorified through her!! She considers her dramatic turnaround to be a miracle. Last week, she had pneumonia and an extremely high fever. Chemo sores riddled her mouth, and her body just trembled. She was totally out of it this time last Friday.

But now!?

Go read their blog!! Now! :-)

In Him,


01 September, 2005

Some help and ideas for "down the road"

From my friend over at Liberty and Lily and the rest of the Ambleside Online advisory board:

~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
Help for Katrina Victims

It's not much - but it's something.

AmblesideOnline has just put up HELP - Helping Hand Emergency Lesson Plan, which is explained this way:

This is a free, complete, user-friendly curriculum plan for homeschooling families who need support, encouragement and alternatives to the curriculum they've lost in a disaster, and also for churches and other groups needing to set up temporary schools for children who may not have been homeschooled. All texts and teaching materials needed to implement this plan are free online. The only things you need are access to a computer and printer, paper and pencil. Please print out and share this information freely with anyone who might need it.

We know that there are more important things than missed schooling during a crisis. But sometimes in the midst of disasters, creating a small oasis of normalcy and continuity is very important. In the midst of such a disaster, grown ups with many urgent details on their minds cannot focus on thinking up things for children to do, and it is our prayer that this free resource will fill a needed niche.

The Advisory (a circle of women of which I'm honored to be a part) simplified and culled resources from the vast AO online library to create an immediate-use, multi-grade lesson plan. Every history, science, and literature book is fully online. There are math ideas, craft ideas, links to artwork and music, and much more.

Life will be disrupted for many for a long, long time. Those families who homeschool, or those locations that just need ideas and material for play and reading and creativity for children, can find quick links and inspiration here.

Spread the word. Keep on praying, and doing whatever you can do to help the aching southland.

And be sure to give, whatever you can.

You can send financial help to Samaritan's Purse - and pray God multiplies your gift, and that it reaches those who need it most.

~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~ ~*~
One last bit from Javamom:

As mentioned in my previous post, Curriculae and books will be collected by Project Noah to be sent to all the homeschooling famlies who have lost everything in Alabama, Mississippi, and Louisiana. The folks at Project Noah will be updating their website as soon as possible. Those types of needs are not as pressing at this moment, but will be dealt with at a later date.

In the meantime, think about boxing up some things that you can ship today. That's what my kids and I will be doing on our Labor Day Holiday weekend.

Keep praying...