System Status: March 2017

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Colorado is once again going through her yearly spring identity crisis and can’t decide if it should be 75 degrees and sunny or 25 degrees and snowy. Cold? Hot? Cold? Hot? While I do love variety in my weather and I’ve lived here long enough to expect this March/April indecision, now that we have a real yard with real plants that can’t be carried inside at the sign of the first flake, the seasonal ambivalence is not quite as fun to experience.

Still…..the kids love playing in the snow one day and wearing shorts the next so it gets them out in the yard more which I can hardly complain about.

Speaking of spring, we’ve been preparing! We sold E’s old phone and in exchange, got a $250 Costco gift card which we promptly dropped on a compost bin and two rain barrels. They are now sitting in the backyard performing their various functions and, thanks to the two snow falls we’ve had in the last week, one of the rain barrels is overflowing….so….we need to figure that out. 🙂 I also have my Sarah’s Starts ordered and they should arrive in a few weeks with the Azure order, which means we should also probably build a garden bed….maybe…and get some dirt….maybe? Obviously I’m going into this gardening thing with 100% confidence!

March has been full, but full in a more positive way than the last few months. We started it out with a short trip to western Colorado the first weekend, then moved into our third term of B’s kindergarten. Interspersed were hiking trips on Fridays, one to a state park not far from our house (with a free pass from the library!), complete with derelict cement house (seen above), and another to meet up with a new Charlotte Mason homeschooling mom who I’ve only chatted with online (she didn’t end up being a psychopath which is always a good thing when meeting “online” people for the first time!).

I’ve also been plugging away at planning for AO Year 1 for B and ordered printed copies of Charlotte Mason’s Elementary Geography and Home Geography for Primary Grades by C.C. Long. They turned out beautifully and I’ve been thinking about what other things I can have printed because I’m much more of a tangible, real paper book girl than an ebook girl. I’ve also managed to get a few of the Y1 free reads through PaperBack Swap (including a beautiful, mint condition copy of The Velveteen Rabbit), so our little Y1 book collection is growing.

In March, I was into…

Books.

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This month, I finished Teaching from Rest. I had heard this compared quite a bit to Mere Motherhood which is what initially sparked my interest, but it felt more like a book of advice and techniques rather than having more of a “memoir” feeling as Mere Motherhood did. There were some great tips in here, though, that I plan on implementing for us in the coming years.

I also listened to The Cruelest Month. This one wasn’t as good as books one and two in the Gamache series, but I think it was mainly because it was quite a bit darker than the others. It did add a lot more depth to the recurring characters, though, which I liked. Yvette Nichol is especially fascinating to me (probably because she reminds me of myself in a lot of ways) and I found myself cheering for her at the end even after really just detesting her for the first part of the book. Jean Guy Beauvoir is also interesting and I was glad that he finally got what he was looking for in this book, though it felt like we didn’t hear much more from him after that. I love that Penny’s characters are multifaceted. Peter Morrow especially comes to mind with his jealousy. It keeps me guessing who might truly be the “bad guy” in her books.

I managed to sneak in Today Will Be Different as well.  I’ve seen this compared to Semple’s other book, Where’d You Go Bernadette?, in a few places but while I think the same confusion and “mystery” exists in this one, I didn’t find the storylines to be all that similar. I really enjoyed Bernadette and while Today was amusing at times, I don’t think the characters were as likable or the storyline as compelling in this one.

For the Back to the Classics Challenge (Romance Classic), I finished Persuasion. I watched the movie version of this a few years ago, so I knew how it would end. However, I still found myself wrapped up in the story, especially as the requisite confession of love got nearer. Jane Austen is always just the right balance of subtle, Regency snark and not-so-cheesy romance. I love her.

B and I also finished Heidi, which was charming…this is not a word I use often, but I can find no other word to describe it. We also listened to Pinky Pye in the car during our trip to Montrose and though it wasn’t as good as Ginger Pye, B enjoyed it.

I’m currently reading One Hundred Years of Solitude, Lilac Girls, Howards End is on the Landing, and, of course, still plugging away at School Education with my book club.

If you’d like to follow along with my book reading adventures, you can find me on Goodreads.

Watching.

We managed one movie this month and picked up Dr. Strange at the library which was….a movie. 🙂 April means Star Wars!

Loving.

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Alaffia Eye Cream and Face Cream. I’m not a particularly vain person…a trait about me you’d know immediately if you met me in person. I accept that I’m going to age, hairs will turn gray (as they already have), parts will sag, and skin will become wrinkly. However, on the flip side of that, there is nothing in not being vain that says I can’t buy some nice-smelling creams to pamper myself a bit, so I picked up some eye and face cream. C likes to watch me put this stuff on, which is also one of the types of memories I would’ve loved to have in my own childhood. Yay for new memories. 🙂

Cornell Bird Cams. When I was writing my thesis back in 2009, I would have Word filling up part of my computer screen and in a tiny box in the corner, I had one of the Xcel Energy bird cams up (usually at the same plant to which E had to travel several times during those months). I watched the birds lay their eggs, incubate, and the babies hatch and became fascinated with the process. Every year around this same time, I always think I’ll follow along again, but didn’t actually load them up until this year. Unfortunately, the Xcel cameras aren’t all that great, so I decided to look around for others and discovered that Cornell has several of them as well. Even better, I can load them up on the Roku Youtube channel for the kids to see as well so we can all follow along together.

thredUP. Twice used to be my online go-to for consignment clothing. I’ve really been missing it lately, so I decided to give thredUP another try as I am very much in need of new jeans and short-sleeve shirts. I ordered quite a few items last week (some with tags still on them), which arrived yesterday, and I was pleasantly surprised at the quality and packaging. They’ve definitely upped their game and I’ll be ordering more in the future. If you want to give it a try, click on the link to get $10 off your first order. 🙂

Internets.

When Marriage is Hard. “But the truth, even after all these years, is this: our marriage is still hard. I share this because when we did get to our 12th anniversary, despite the work we put into it, and our creases and sharp edges hadn’t smoothed out, when our relationship remained peppered with miscommunications (because we literally do not understand things the same way), when we chose refuge in isolation instead of into each other’s arms, or spoke harsh words instead of giving grace during times of chronic tiredness and stress — I didn’t despair. And I don’t want you to either.”

Lucille Horn, Who Was Nursed To Health In A Coney Island Sideshow, Dies At 96. I read about this place in a book recently and couldn’t believe premie babies were actually a sideshow attraction at one point in this country’s history. Thank God for Dr. Couney thinking outside the box!

This 16-year-old artist uses fallen leaves to create stunning paintings. These are amazing.

We Know Nature Makes Us Happier. Now Science Says It Makes Us Kinder Too. “Today, we live with ubiquitous technology designed to constantly pull at our attention. But many scientists believe our brains were not made for this kind of information bombardment, and that it can lead to mental fatigue, overwhelm, and burnout, requiring ‘attention restoration’ to get back to a normal, healthy state. Strayer is one of those researchers. He believes that being in nature restores depleted attention circuits, which can then help us be more open to creativity and problem-solving.”

Long-Lost Photos Show What Hasn’t Changed About Motherhood In 50 Years. I love so much about this. Mothers truly are amazing.

Anton Chekhov: How to Become a Cultured Person. I think I need to read more Chekhov…

The Deeper Reason Why We Can’t Remember People’s Names. “I entered the conversation—as I do so often—with the desire to be known rather than to know. I was trying so hard to say something impressive or witty or intelligent that I entirely missed what they were saying on the other side of the conversation. I wanted them to know my name more than I wanted to know theirs.”

What if All I Want is a Mediocre Life? “What if I am not cut out for the frantic pace of this society and cannot even begin to keep up? And see so many others with what appears to be boundless energy and stamina but know that I need tons of solitude and calm, an abundance of rest, and swaths of unscheduled time in order to be healthy. Body, spirit, soul healthy. Am I enough?”

Andara Font and Watercolor Frame Ribbon Set. Both free on Creative Market until Sunday night!

If you’d like to see what links I’ve liked throughout the month, you can follow along on my Facebook page. 🙂

On the Blog.

Charlotte Mason Picture Study Aid - ahumbleplace.com

Monthly Meal Plan: March 2017

Western Colorado Junior Ranger Adventures. A recap of our trip to Montrose in early March which included visits to a few of the National Parks in the area to get more Junior Ranger badges for B. 🙂

Charlotte Mason Picture Study Aid Plans and Survey. If you’ve downloaded and/or used one of the Picture Study aids, I’d love your feedback!

Monthly Meal Plan: April 2017

Bird Sightings.

They’re starting to return! The Juncos have actually disappeared altogether, a sure sign that spring is here. Right now we’re mostly getting house finches at the feeders, but we also got a random visit from an enormous group of tiny, chirpy bushtits, a house sparrow couple (who become very alarmed when I play house sparrow calls for them on my phone), goldfinches (already bright yellow), chipping sparrows, and, of course, squawky collared doves.

The mountain chickadees are still teasing me by stopping by every few weeks for several consecutive days, singing their scratchy little songs, and then not coming anymore. They do seem to like our new woodpecker feeder, though, so maybe they’ll make a showing more often. We’re also getting the occasional blue jay and scrub jay and I’m hoping that increases since we added a peanut feeder to our collection (which means the magpies and occasional crow will probably also increase as well).

On the more random bird front, I saw a lone spotted towhee (one of our spring favorites) perched in the tree next to the feeders last week and two mountain bluebirds checking out our bluebird box (which means we have to keep an eye on the house sparrows). We also have one somewhat persistent flicker (another one of my favorites) who is determined to find a mate via our gutters (which we don’t mind all that much). And, lastly, there have been, unfortunately, a few grackle sightings.

April means hummingbirds!

Favorite Instagram.

And there you have the state of me. 🙂

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