September always means a renewal of sorts for me. As I’ve said every single year that I’ve had this blog as well as past incarnations, September means a new season with new crisp weather and the beauty of changing leaves, new tv shows, new football hopes, and a new year to add to my own personal timeline as my birthday also falls in this month. This year, though, was a little different. It’s been a very hard year for various reasons, so I didn’t go into this month with my normal enthusiasm and hope and I think that’s probably a good thing as it ended up being yet another challenging month.
On the positive side, I started B in Ambleside Online Year 1 the first week of September and, other than needing to switch to a new (very expensive and completely worth it) math curriculum a week ago, it’s going extremely well. He has really impressed me with his narrations and what he retains and most of the things we’re reading really reinforces to me that Charlotte Mason is the way to go. I’m so glad I found this method.
C has been a huge challenge….HUGE. I don’t remember B being this difficult at age 3.5, but I also had a new baby and was probably still in la-la-land. Still…. I just don’t remember it being this hard before, ever. It probably doesn’t help that I can’t give her my undivided attention as I was able to with B up until just before he was 3.5. I can’t just sit down with her and read books for hours anymore as I have so many other things on my plate, the majority of which is B’s school. I’ve tried to include her in whatever way I can, but if anyone has some magic formula for suddenly making 3.5 not so horrible, I’m all ears. 🙂
And then, of course, there’s Camilla. She’s still hanging in there and seems to have gained back a little liveliness with the new meds, but she still has bad days. I’m just glad we have a little hope right now rather than where we were just a few weeks ago when we were sure it was the end.
In the end of September, I was into…
This month, I finished Enchanted Islands which I received last year from Book of the Month Club but hadn’t had a chance to read until now. I originally picked this one because the main character was from Duluth, Minnesota, though the majority of the story takes place elsewhere, including the Galapagos. The prose was good and very readable, but the story didn’t hold my attention as much as I hoped.
I chose to read A Study in Scarlet next for the 19th-century classic category in the Back to the Classics Challenge. I decided that because I’m kind of a Sherlock groupie, it might be good to get myself better acquainted with the books that inspired it (as well as so many other tv shows and movies). I was actually kind of surprised at how much I liked this one. I expected the language to be archaic if not flowery and that’s always a recipe for disaster for a tired mama trying to get some reading in before bed. But I found myself actually wanting to find out what happened next. There was also sarcasm! (“It’s quite exciting,” said Sherlock Holmes with a yawn. “What happened next?”) Also? I was surprised at how much of it was about Mormons. 🤷♀️
Earlier this week I finished The Tea Girl of Hummingbird Lane, which I had been listening to whenever I had a chance. As my audiobook listening time has been cut back dramatically since I don’t lay with C until she falls asleep anymore at night, I finally just got the print version from the library and finished it in a few days. I would have to say that Lisa See is probably one of my favorite modern authors. I get excited whenever I see that she has a new book out because she never fails to deliver a great story. This one was no exception and I enjoyed the whole thing thoroughly. As part of her research into the book, she traveled around China learning about tea-making procedures and she befriended a woman who runs a tea business. They collaborated and you can now order an accompanying tea tasting guide to go with the book that includes some of the tea mentioned. I’m a little tempted to buy one as pu-erh tea was probably one of the main stars of this book and I’m very curious about how it tastes.
B and I also finished The Adventures of Reddy Fox very early in the month and then Charlotte’s Web at the end of the month (which will also fulfill a category for the Back to the Classics Challenge – I’ve read this twice before and of course know what happens, but I always get a little misty-eyed at the last line of chapter 21). We’re taking a break from the Thornton Burgess books for a while to focus on the Ambleside Online Year 1 free reads. 🙂
I’m currently reading Laurus (which I admittedly only picked because the cover is beautiful), The Pilgrim’s Progress (for the Back to the Classics Challenge – I have doubts about actually finishing this one, but we’ll see), Mind to Mind, Formation of Character with my Charlotte Mason book club, and The King of the Golden River with B.
If you’d like to follow along with my book reading adventures, you can find me on Goodreads. I’m up to 36 books for the year so far (my goal was 44), but that does include all of the ones I’ve read with B (13) so I’m not sure if I should count those…. For the Back to the Classics Challenge, I’ve read 10 of the 12 categories so far this year.
We watched The Founder on Netflix and I hated this movie. Not that it was poorly done or low quality…I just hated the story. Hated. I can’t even remember the last time I went to a McDonald’s and after having watched this movie, I’m glad I haven’t given them any business in recent years.
We also started watching The Vietnam War on PBS. I’ve always had a fascination with the 1960s which obviously included this epic disaster. I even wrote a story about it when I was around 14 comprised of letters between an American soldier in Vietnam and a girl back home (not that I knew anything about any of it….but I had an active imagination). My dad is a veteran of the war, though he never left the states, as well as my uncle who refuses to talk about his experiences there, so it’s always held some mystery to me. Ken Burns is truly amazing, honestly. When I think of documentaries, he’s the first person I think of and with good reason. They’re always high quality and beautifully done.
Also? Football! I heart football.
Deodorant is an enigma to me. I’ve been trying to find something for several years that didn’t contain aluminum and a few were pretty good in the winter but failed miserably in the summer. I saw an ad for Native Deodorant a few weeks ago that included RAVE reviews so I decided to give it a try and it has passed the test so far. We haven’t had any extremely hot days lately but it smells wonderful (I got the rose and magnolia scent) and worked well on warmer days so I’m hopeful for next summer.
In the end of July, I took B in for his yearly checkup to a new naturopath doctor and she gave me a few recommendations for cookbooks. One of them was the Nourishing Meals Cookbook and I absolutely love it.
A few weeks ago, I was heading to the checkout at Target and happened to see these Anchor Hocking Baking Dishes on an end cap (seen above on our tea table). They’re so pretty and at only $9 for the rosewater pie dish (they have other colors too), they’re also an inexpensive way to add a little beauty to your table!
I’ve been in Colorado for almost 22 years now and I’m still not used to the dryness here. Growing up in Minnesota’s 80% humidity poorly prepared me for the arid climate here and I think my body is just flat out rebelling, especially as I get older. In an attempt to staunch the tide of dead skin cells consistently flaking from my body (gross), I picked up this Soothing Touch Salt Scrub at Natural Grocers a few weeks ago on a whim and, folks, I’m in love. I now have hope that I won’t be an itchy mess all winter long.
Charlotte Mason Educational Retreat. I went to this last year and loved every second! If you might happen to be in the Colorado Springs area in February and love Charlotte Mason, join us!
Auto Mechanics Recreate Renaissance Paintings. I have a degree in art history and am the daughter of a mechanic. This appealed to me on many levels. 🙂
What to do when you realize classic books from your childhood are racist. “I did a double-take. How could my dear uncle say something like that? But then I remembered ‘Little House on the Prairie,’ and how Ma, loving, kind Ma, hated Indians. And I suddenly understood.
Sometimes, good people, people you love, aren’t always right.
And that is how I feel about these classic books. I’m not saying we should ban them. I’m saying we should treat them like out-of-touch relatives. We all have that aunt or uncle, or maybe even a parent, who believes in things you don’t agree with.”
“Still the Same Person”: Edith Schaeffer on Child-Rearing, Beauty-Seeking, Home-Keeping. “You cannot expect to have a close relationship with a teenager who, after all, is still the same person as the two-year-old you stuck crying into bed, the three-year-old you spanked and shoved aside, the four-year-old you wouldn’t listen to, the five-year-old you never shared beauty with, the six-year-old you found boring, or you ‘trained’ never to butt in, but never gave time to make a cosy and beautiful background out of which you could talk to him or her.” Sooooo many good quotes in this one.
On the Blog.
Fort Laramie Junior Ranger Adventures. When we started to search for sites we could drive to for the 2017 total solar eclipse in North America, the first place that popped into my head was Fort Laramie, a little National Historic Site about three-and-a-half hours from our house that we’ve been meaning to visit to get another Junior Ranger badge for B. When I discovered that it was located within the boundaries of the 72-mile band of totality, our (very short) search was over.
A Day in the Life: 22 September 2017. It’s mostly about Camilla.
In the Shop.
Several new prints are up in the shop this month!
The Chickadees (both Mountain and Black-Capped) are now coming regularly which is one of the happiest things ever for me. I have waited so long for them to come to the neighborhood to stay (after having grown quite fond of them in our old house where we had many in the area) and hearing their little calls all throughout the day never gets old. My next goal is to get one to eat from my hand….it’s only a matter of time, friends.
We’re also still getting an overload of House Finches (a few very yellow ones), but we also got our first Dark-Eyed Junco of the season this past Friday so it’s also only a matter of time before they take over and the Finches are few and far between. In the more exotic bird category, we’ve had a male Hairy Woodpecker stop by a few times to tap away at our dying aspen trees. Western Scrub-Jays are also daily visitors (they love the corn cob feeder I got for the squirrels as well as the new window-mounted feeder I bought myself for my birthday – they like to cram their mouths full of sunflower seeds, fly to the tree, look around, then fly back and try and cram more into their already full mouths) as well as occasional Blue Jays which are actually kind of a nice change. And, just a day or two after I put the corn cob feeder out, we got our one and only Steller’s Jay which was very neat to see close-up. He hasn’t been back since, though, so I think he may have been lost.
We have two neighborhood squirrels (not many trees here) that have been coming more regularly as well since I put the corn cob feeder out (though one of them lost a tail last week [see image below] and we haven’t seen it since, so maybe we’re down to one?). This means I’m switching to safflower this week in the tray feeder and then keeping the dinner bell with a cage around it and suet inside for the small songbirds. The squirrel managed to get into the window feeder as well so I’m going to have to work on placement for that. Otherwise they can share the corn cob feeder with the jays. Hopefully we keep this variety up over the winter.
And there you have the state of me. 🙂