Friday, November 30, 2012

Not Every Day

What I saw on my drive home from church last Sunday....

Saturday, November 24, 2012

It's Been a Quiet Week Here....

Though it was the week of a major, often stress-inducing American holiday, it was still quiet around here. Thanksgiving dinner was a relaxed, low-key event with only half the people we had attending last year. My boys surprised me by skillfully cleaning house on Wednesday while I was sitting in a doctor's waiting room ("Mom! Guess what we did! We mopped all the floors!") So with the house clean, a menu that I could now cook in my sleep and only a few guests, Thanksgiving was just no biggie.

I refuse to participate in the corporate and consumerist circus that has become Black Friday. There is plenty of time to shop for Christmas gifts without using the day(s) of giving thanks for the important things in life (faith and family, home and health) to increase our meaningless material possessions. So Friday was also spent quietly with some comfort baking (another pumpkin pie) more visiting family and books to read. Well... and a flat tire while in town but feeling so blessed, it didn't disturb the peace.

Since the wedding and apple turnover season ended my Saturdays have become blissfully mundane. After the holidays I expect to have many Saturdays booked with bridal meetings once again, planning wedding cakes and pie deliveries. For now the Saturdays are like those in years gone by, spent in halcyon homekeeping activities. I've been feeling a niggle of guilt for not planning some pie making classes during this prime time pie season, but I just can't bring myself to clutter up my calender when it is so pleasingly bare. So today, with the housekeeping and laundry in control and no pressing appointments I was able to occupy my pottery studio once again for a couple hours. I think it was the second or third time this year that I had my hands in clay.

Fresh coffee, Garrison Keillor on the radio and the whirr of the pottery wheel. 
Just like old times!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Saturday, November 17, 2012

My Eyes Are Not Accustomed to This Light

My boy installed new lighting in my kitchen. Just in time for Thanksgiving menu prep!

I knew there was a good reason I pushed out five boys!

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Art School

We've added something different this year for school. Samuel has been enrolled in an art school in the big city. He goes one day a week to learn to draw, paint and make lego animation movies.

I took this photo on his first day of school, suited up with his satchel of art supplies and his sack lunch. It was the first time he ever went off to the city for school and he had a bit of trepidation. I hadn't sent a child off for school at dawn in many years so it felt strange for both of us.

The art school is a Christian school that teaches art in a classical way, by teaching the students technique before they ask the kids to express themselves with their paints. This makes complete sense to me since when I teach my children to write, I first instruct them in printing, cursive, English grammar and sentence structure before I expect them to express themselves in story or verse. I have always thought that art instruction in public schools was severely lacking in teaching good technique starting with basic drawing. The founders of this art school thought so too because when they couldn't find good instruction for their own family, they were moved to start this school. Due to its successful results the school has surged in enrollment the last few years.

The school offers many different types of art instruction but the drawing and painting classes are by far the most popular and fill up immediately. The school is currently adding more music and drama to their offerings.

The success of the art classes is due to the fact that the students are taught how to use their brushes and tools by copying masterworks.

Alyssa is also enrolled in this school, attending a day of classes for college age students. This is a pastel work she is finishing for the school exhibit that is coming up.

I have seen a number of the paintings done by students, young students and I am stunned by their proficiency. If you take time to look at the online gallery you will see what I mean. Look at this page of work done by the 9-12 year olds!

This is the very first practice painting that Samuel brought home.

I am really excited to see what else he is doing but we parents aren't allowed to see the finished works until the school exhibit coming up next month. I think I may have to enroll myself.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

An Alluring Project

Not too long ago someone gave Sam a camping and wilderness survival book. The boys have been gleaning lots of ideas from it. Recently they disappeared into the garage for about a day and a half.

When they emerged they brought out this-

They built an animal trap. I didn't check the condition of the garage when they were finished.

I'm actually very impressed with how well made and functional it is. As far as I know it hasn't caught anything except the cat yet... but we'll see...

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Glorious Autumn

Our season of Autumn is especially beautiful this year.

Maybe we haven't had enough wind or rain these last two months because the leaves are lingering on the trees, glowing with colors that seem more vibrant than other years.

I'm noticing many more reds in the landscape than usual. Even the fruit trees are turning red instead of displaying the usual golden and brown tones.

I've heard that the intensity of fall color is influenced by the amount of rain during the summer and fall. We've had lower amounts of rain than usual since August.

Here in the temperate Pacific Northwest we don't have the hardwoods and sugar maples that other parts of the country have so usually our fall colors tend to be golden but I'm loving the extra reds this year. These beauties are native dogwoods that flower gorgeously in the spring.

With our hilly, mountainous landscape, the colors often look like a patchwork quilt in the distance. The orchards are planted in alternating rows of variety for pollination and in the fall this causes stripes of colors. The low field is blueberries, a new crop for our valley.

Right now we are having an extra bonus of exceptionally warm weather too. It was near 70 degrees today so we are savoring the last of the sunshine. All too soon, cold rain will arrive.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Enough is Enough

I am right now baking the last of the apple hand pies for the season.

Over the last ten weeks, Alyssa and I have made seventy dozen of these babies for my client, an orchardist with a popular farm stand. With the extras that we made for us and others, that is close to 900 apple turnovers!! Samuel and Peter peeled 100 pounds of apples (probably more) and Alyssa rolled a trailer load of pie dough. Oh- what did I do, you ask? I made the dough, the filling, shaped the hand pies, baked, packaged and delivered them.

We are sooooo done with it.

Last night, as Alyssa and I formed the last two dozen, we noticed we no longer have our hearts fully in the project and are just so glad to be finished.

We are sick of apple hand pies.