Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Church Fathers on Angelology

The Angels & Their Mission by Jean Danielou

Kansas Dad encouraged me to choose this book in honor of his own field as Cardinal Danielou was a celebrated theologian of Patristics, the Church Fathers, an area near and dear to Kansas Dad's own heart.

Cardinal Danielou examines the writings of the Church Fathers and the early Tradition of the Church. He seamlessly blends a multitude of quotations from a variety of sources. The responsibilities and actions of the angels are carefully described in relation to the Law, World Religion, the Nativity, the Ascension, the Church, the Sacraments, as Guardian Angels, the Spiritual Life, Death and the Second Coming. It is indeed a thorough presentation! I was hoping just to learn a bit about Guardian angels, so I could be sure to properly describe them to First Son. I have learned that and a great deal more. It's a shame we don't talk about angels nearly as much as the Church Fathers did. They interact greatly with humanity. Imagine an angel beside you every time you pray!

This is not a book of fluff. It is one Kansas Dad could easily read, but I think someone without a theology background can also enjoy this book and glean much from it with a some extra effort. I was a little overwhelmed by the extensive quoting and referencing of the Fathers, mostly because, as I was out of my element, I could not easily discern if the references were valid. Though it does not carry an imprimatur, Kansas Dad assures me Cardinal Danielou's work is orthodox. I found it easier to relax and enjoy the book once I knew his conclusions could be trusted. (I know for a fact there are people who do not believe everything Kansas Dad has to say on the subject of theology, but I do.)

This review was written as part of The Catholic Company product reviewer program. I have not received any payment for this review, but I did receive a free copy of the book The Angels & Their Mission. Learn more about joining the reviewer program here.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Personal Feelings Aside

Mary and the Mouse, The Mouse and Maryis a little story of Mary, who shares her house with a mouse. They both have a mother, father, sister and brother. They both go to school and learn the same things. They discover each other by accident, and then accidentally on purpose engineer an opportunity to wave at each other every night. They both grow up and go away to school, but their lives cross again.

It's a simple story, but the parallels between the lives are perfectly written for little ones and the illustrations are ingenious. The mouse house furnishings and decorations are worthy of a second (and third) look. As always, I am easily won over by endearing illustrations of children and particularly love the drawings of the two families listening to mother read aloud. (What's not to love about that?)

Country life with real live mice has hardened me to many a mouse tale, but this one is worth overcoming my misgivings.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

LarryBoy at the Zoo

First Daughter's Boat

A Patient Patient


Brandy always has something thoughtful to say on the subject of homeschooling. Today, I found this post particularly interesting and want to ponder it some more. Please feel free to wander over there and read her thoughts but I mainly want to remind myself to return.

Kansas Dad and I are still considering a vision for our homeschool. I'm afraid he's a little leery of mission statements and vision statements and the like, being forced to squander many an hour in such meetings for his university (and, in a former life, on a Parish Council), but I think I want something in writing to focus our schooling.

In the meantime, I'm trying to outline a basic schedule for next year and fill in some of the resources. Books, lovely books!

Safe and Sound

For those who know us, and live in Kansas, you may have heard our little town on the news when a tornado was spotted Sunday night, amidst all those storms sweeping the state. When the weather alarm sounded, we turned on the TV, heard our town's name and made a run for the shelter.

I was so pleased with First Son. I asked him to put on his sandals, turned to grab Second Daughter from her high chair (we were in the middle of dinner) and he was at my elbow, ready to go, when I turned around. First Daughter was a little more trouble. Kansas Dad followed with her a few minutes later.

I don't know if the little funnel cloud even touched down, but it was certainly north of us as we didn't even get high winds. The kids and I hung out in the shelter for about fifteen minutes while Kansas Dad watched the news through the window. We listened to a local radio station on the laptop (love the wireless internet).

Kansas Dad and I listened to the storms rage late into the night. Nights like those I hate living here. I wondered if all our amazing weather coverage (which no doubt saves lives) actually makes spring more stressful. All those tornado watches (when conditions are right) and the extended weather coverage where we can watch the storms stalk neighboring counties and when the slightest rotation is detected on radar, the warnings sound (tornado!). So I stay tense, poised to grab the kids and run. I wonder if I can manage all of them myself and wonder what I'd do if I were nine months pregnant. It's a struggle to get my thoughts under control.

So do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring worries of its own. Today's trouble is enough for today. (Matt 6:34)

I will say this: when I was in the shelter with my three little ones, Kansas Dad watching the storms for us, I was perfectly content, a bit excited, but not anxious at all.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Some History Lessons

I just finished reading April 1865: The Month That Saved America by Jay Winik and highly recommend it.

Mr. Winik writes with some persuasion that the manner in which the Civil War ended, and the actions of a few important people (namely Lee, Lincoln, Grant and Sherman) enabled the United States to become the United States after the Civil War, rather than a group of United States. He also writes of the transfer of power after the unthinkable assassination of Abraham Lincoln to the Vice President, Andrew Johnson. Personally, I still find it hard to believe the nation was able to overcome the actions of President Johnson and the experiences of Reconstruction, but the book just barely mentions events after May 1865.

The descriptions of the events leading up to the end of the Civil War were riveting. I kept thinking to myself, "It's not as if I don't know how this ends..." but I still couldn't put it down. In truth, though, my knowledge of the Civil War was apparently only rudimentary as I learned a great deal from the book. (I kept asking Kansas Dad, "Did you know...?" and was disappointed that he usually did.)

Coincidentally, I am also reading a childhood favorite of mine set in the same time period (though far removed from the war and its end), Caddie Woodlawn. It's just as delightful as I remember it! I recently learned there is a sequel (Caddie Woodlawn's Family (Magical Melons)) and I wanted to read the original again first.

Saturday, April 25, 2009

Our Graduate

Last night the local library held a little graduation ceremony for the story hour class. It's really a fantastic preschool program with lots of moving, drawing, and creating. First Son was one of the four adorable graduates. He was a bit shy of all the attention, but was thrilled with his gifts, with the cupcake and with all the running around on the lawn until all hours of the night. (We provided most of the treats, including the cupcakes, and I want you to know I picked out all the eggshells for this special event.)

Hopefully we'll be able to participate a bit in the summer reading program, which is much more than a reading list and prizes for churning out pages. And we'll be back for the story hour again with First Daughter in the fall. First Son will be welcome back, too, since we're planning to homeschool.

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Great Outdoors

Kansas Dad and I have been talking with First Daughter about learning to use the bathroom like a big girl so she won't have to wear diapers. Her interest so far has pretty much been limited to talking about it, but I decided to take advantage of the sunny and warm spring days we've had. Yesterday, I let First Daughter wear some new big girl underwear while we were outside. I figured any mess would be easy for me to clean and it might just be the lesson she needs. I think she may be closer to being ready than we had even hoped.

She asked to come in and use the bathroom after a while. She was still dry, but didn't have any success, even after about 30 minutes. (We read a number of stories, all gathered around the bathroom; such fun family bonding.) Of course, as soon as she was off and relaxed a bit more she had to go, but by then it was First Son's turn so I ended up with an inside mess to clean up. I was encouraged, though, that she is able to tell when she needs to go and is able to control it at least a little.

She is very excited to be wearing underwear so we'll be using them again, but only when we're out in our yard.

Learn From My Mistakes

The kids love these books, but I do not. The illustrations are not really my style. I like a picture book to be lovely or bold...I find these illustrations kind of messy. They make my stomach a little woozy.

In Meanwhile..., Raymond uses a literary trick (writing "Meanwhile..." on his wall) to avoid his mother's call and then to escape from some other sticky situations, until he uses up all his Meanwhiles and has to shout "The End" to land safely back in his bed. I'm not sure the kids grasp the concept very well. Mostly I think First Son is interested in the pirates that feature in one of Raymond's episodes. What I dislike most, though, is how Raymond ignores his mother's yell and then tries to escape rather than respond to her. I just don't need First Son to see this kind of an example. If I call him (though I try not to yell like this particular mother, I often fail, but that's fodder for another post), I do not want him to consider ignoring me.

I Lost My Bear seemed more promising. The little girl has lost her bear and her parents encourage her to find it on her own. Ah, now this I'd like to see my kids doing -- searching for something they want without a parent doing all the searching. The girl, of course, amuses us by making even more of a mess. Then she asks her sister for help. The older sister first yells that the bear is "stupid" (Do I really need that modeled for my kids?) and later even threatens to "kill" the little sister if anything happens to her own stuffed animal. I know. I know. Kids say such things to their siblings all the time. It may even be possible that I said such things in my teen-aged days. That doesn't mean I need the behavior in the books we read together. My kids are pretty sheltered right now. They're still learning how to be mean to each other and are doing just fine picking up those skills on their own or at playgroups. I tried skipping over the words, but First Son was on to me. (I just had to teach him how to read.) The bear does resurface, in case you were worried.

So, while Bark, George was amusing, I think we'll just skip anything else by Jules Feiffer, unless one of you convinces me otherwise.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

I've Been There

Yesterday, I read Tales of Oliver Pig to First Son. I think I enjoyed the chapter called Snowsuits even more than he did. Poor Mother Pig is trying to get Oliver and Amanda ready for a foray into the snow and when her hard work is undone as she's putting on her own coat, she sits down for a good cry. I know just how she feels.

There are a bunch of Oliver and Amanda books, but this is the only one we've read. So far.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Onesies and Vaccines Don't Mix

I took Second Daughter in for her nine month well-child visit today. She weighed in at a solid 20 pounds 12 ounces. I can't remember her height but both height and weight were in the 80-85th percentiles. The doctor, not our usual one, guessed that Second Daughter isn't pulling herself up yet because she's so heavy. Personally, I think it's because she hasn't tried to pull herself up and cruise, but I'm not complaining too much. She's also not crawling. I'll be glad to see her crawl because it's always nice to check off those developmental milestones, but I'm also glad she's not crawling because a crawling baby always takes parenting to the next level.

I didn't expect any shots today, but we were behind on one of them so she had just one. After the appointment we went to the park to meet up with some friends and then visited a local museum. I noticed Second Daughter chewing something as she watched a puppet show produced by and starring her big brother and sister and thought to myself, "What in the world can that be? She's been in the stroller for at least ten minutes..."

Any guesses? I'll give you a few seconds.

Her Band-Aid.

Ugh. She cried when I dug it out of our mouth, too.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Mother, I Want to Make Something!

We checked this book out from the library once and First Son made a shark but didn't seem too interested in anything else. He rediscovered it a few weeks ago when a our very own copy arrived in the mail. Now it seems he's always asking to make something from the book. Here are a few of the results:

It's actually a wonderful little book. Most of the crafts can be made easily with a few basic supplies like construction paper, egg cartons, toothpicks, glue, paper bags and paper plates. We have to help him along but the projects are generally not too complicated. Sometimes there are suggestions for "small fry fun" as well, easier little crafts for the littlest ones. There are fun little poems and informative blurbs on sea creatures plus lots of suggestions for other activities like games and books to read. (A number of our favorite sea books were originally suggestions from this book.)

At our house, the creations often lead to other activities, usually drawing and cutting out fish for the bigger fish to eat. (First Son often draws the poor things with frowns.) Then, of course, we must act out the fun of the big fish eating the little ones. Eventually the crafts start to show significant wear and tear but the kids don't seem to mind.

I haven't quite decided whether crafts like these are important teaching tools, but there's no denying First Son enjoys them and they fill our time with some measure of hand-eye coordination and skill development (with scissors, for example). I have no doubt it's time better spent than watching a video and I think we'll try to fit some crafts time into our homeschooling in the fall. Too bad it's a little too early for woodworking. I could always use more shelves.

Monday, April 20, 2009

New Growth

The current bushes are settling in and the dwarf apple tree is blossoming.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Dishwasher Dilemma

When there's room left in the dishwasher for just one more cup, do you run it?

Or do you pour yourself a glass of milk and drink it quickly just so you can fill the empty spot before running it?

Or do you wait until after lunch when the sink will be full of dirty dishes as the dishwasher runs? (Or do you then wash the lunch dishes by hand?)

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

LarryBoy, Cowboys & Bad Guys

It is a typical afternoon at Grammy's house. The stage is set. The cowboys are relaxing, undisturbed by the snakes lounging around the town. Perhaps the good gentlemen are anticipating some pie from the picnic.

The bad guys are all safely locked up in the jail.

The preparations for the friendly country gathering are well underway at the castle across the way.

LarryBoy, his puppies and the spider disembark from their space shuttle.

Suddenly, the LarryBoy light flashes in the sky. The bad guys have escaped with all the money from the bank! One particularly nasty bad guy, Robert the Terrible, has snatched the princess from the festivities and has fled to his secret hideout in Bear Mountain.

LarryBoy to the rescue!

He uses his "grabber" to save the princess and capture the bad guy.

All stinky bad guys must take a shower before they get locked back up in the jail.

The princess is resting after her ordeal. The bad guys are back in the jail. The money is safely in the bank. Everything is as it should be.

And the play begins again.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Simply Lovely, Dahling!

Have you seen this delightful book? Like me, did you let it linger, believing it would be just another silly series? We have been reintroduced recently and the kids and I have been reading about Nancy and her family every day. Nancy is creative and exuberant (and she has an extensive vocabulary, which never hurts).

Nancy says her family doesn't understand how being fancy is important, so she decides to offer fancy classes and they sweetly comply. Dressed to the nines in Nancy's accessories, they dine out on pizza (pinkies up). Nancy has a mishap and feels decidedly unfancy, but feels much better once she's home and cleaned up.

I love how Nancy instructs her family. I love that they go out to dinner all dressed up. (I asked Kansas Dad if he'd do the same for First Daughter and he didn't seem so sure.) I love how Nancy, her parents and her sister treat each other - all models of behavior I'd be thrilled to see reproduced in our own home. I love how Nancy thanks her family for being fancy for a little while.

I love the illustrations. When Nancy's father suggests dinner out, Nancy leaps into the air, her dress all ruffles. Nancy's little sister is one of the most adorable girls I've ever seen. I just want to scoop her up!

We have read only one other Fancy Nancy book, Fancy Nancy: Bonjour, Butterfly, but I'm going to have to seek out more from the library.

Nancy, you are welcome in our home anytime. Please, come for tea!

My Small Successes


I'm so pleased to participate in Small Successes over at Faith & Family Live today. I actually have some successes!

1. I finally exchanged First Son's jeans for new ones. (It only took a month.) I wisely invested in jeans from Sears this past winter based on his earlier performances. Of the past eight pairs of jeans he's owned, eight of them have ended up with a great big hole on the right knee. So yesterday, I used the Kidvantage exchange policy to get two pairs without holes. While there, we bought two pairs in the next size up (which were on sale), so we're even ahead of the game.

2. I bought tea yesterday! I love making myself a big pot of tea using loose leaf black teas, but ran out weeks (or months?) ago. I then used my bagged tea until all the non-herbal bag tea was gone, too. I just couldn't bring myself to attempt a tea run with the kids. Something about the three of them in a little shop full of teapots and tea cups and glass canisters of tea made me hesitate. Yesterday, my wonderful mother-in-law followed me to the tea store and waited in the car with the kids while I bought enough to last me for months (especially since in the heat of summer I love making sun tea with my mint plants). Oh, and believe me, after the night we had with Second Daughter last night, I seriously needed some caffeine this morning.

3. I managed to wash First Son's special green blanket (which was a Christmas present to me a couple of years ago, but I digress) and finish drying it just a few minutes after bedtime last night.

I know they don't compare to Elizabeth's lovely success, but they are my small ones for the week. Read more over at Faith & Family Live.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

In the Beginning

Kansas Dad planted our very first plants today -- black currant bushes. It's been so cold at night (not to mention that freak snowstorm a week ago) that our seedlings and other seeds are all still safely inside (including something like 150 strawberry plants currently chilling in one of the drawers of our fridge).

We do have a few plants from our old house, mostly in pots, but these are the first ones we bought and planted just for the Range home.

On the Job

The stray cat we've been wooing was lounging in the front yard yesterday morning, watching us eat breakfast and nibbling some grass. Or so I thought. I turned to attend to the baby and glanced back to see the mighty hunter carrying his own furry breakfast to nibble under the porch. (Thank goodness for that; I'm happy to see him hunting, but that doesn't mean I want to watch him eat.) First Son caught a glimpse and nonchalantly returned to his egg sandwich. He was impressed enough, however, to announce to our priest who came unexpectedly to dinner last night that the cat caught a mouse right in the middle of our front yard.

We're hoping he (or she) sticks around.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Finding a Reason to Learn

The End of Education by Neil Postman

I moved on to this book after reading Mr. Postman's Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business. In this book, Mr. Postman examines the reasons for education and proposes a number of narratives that could engage students and teach them something actually worth learning.

I wish I had been able to write a blog post for each chapter as I read them. It would have been interesting for me to see my own thoughts moving through the book. While I don't agree with everything, I think he has produced a book that challenges some of the weaknesses of education, public education in general. (The book is written for public education, though many of his suggestions could fit well with homeschooling, especially classical education, from what I understand of it.)

I won't delve into the meat of his book, not because I think it unworthy of conversation or because I agree with him completely, but simply because I don't have the time. I will say that his premises and proposals were thought-provoking and I'm putting this book on my list to read again in a few years when my children are older. Mr. Postman certainly wants to challenge us (and teachers):

Textbooks, it seems to me, are enemies of education, instruments for promoting dogmatism and trivial learning. They may save the teacher some trouble, but the trouble they inflict on the minds of students is a blight and a curse.

Charlotte Mason methods call for living books rather than textbooks and it's one of the reasons her philosophy appeals so much to me. Even as a science major in college, I found the historical study of research and discoveries, experiments and failures, more exciting and meaningful than the textbooks. I do think textbooks have their place, but I hope to avoid them myself as much as possible in our home. Mr. Postman gives a number of arguments against textbooks, but the one that seems strongest is that "textbooks are concerned with presenting the facts of the case (whatever the case may be) as if there can be no disputing them, as if they are fixed and immutable. And still worse, there is usually no clue given as to who claimed these are the facts (there being no he or she, or I or we)." One of the greatest enlightening moments of university life can be sitting in a lecture hall with a professor who systematically attacks the statements of a professional colleague presented in a textbook as fact. I see no reason this moment must be confined to university.

Kansas Dad has to endure meeting after meeting on mission statements and vision statements and core subjects and requirements. Everyone always says they want the students to learn to think critically, not just memorize facts. Our fear is that by focusing only on the "thinking" (and not understanding exactly how they propose to do so and how they will be able to tell if they are successful), students will graduate without any depth of knowledge at all. Mr. Postman's book seems to address just that question - how to teach students to think critically and still make sure they actually learn something.

Monday, April 6, 2009

From One Treasure to Another

They walked on, thinking of This and That, and by-and-by they came to an enchanted place on the very top of the Forest called Galleons Lap, which is sixty-something trees in a circle; and Christopher Robin knew that it was enchanted because nobody had ever been able to count whether it was sixty-three or sixty-four, not even when he tied a piece of string round each tree after he had counted it. Being enchanted, its floor was not like the floor of the Forest, gorse and bracken and heather, but close-set grass, quiet and smooth and green. It was the only place in the Forest where you could sit down carelessly, without getting up again almost at once and looking for somewhere else. Sitting there they could see the whole world spread out until it reached the sky, and whatever there was all the world over was with them in Galleons Lap.

So off they went together. But wherever they go, and whatever happens to them on the way, in that enchanted place on the top of the Forest, a little boy and his Bear will always be playing.

We've left The World of Pooh: The Complete Winnie-the-Pooh and The House at Pooh Corner, sadly, but are now blissfully enjoying James Herriot's Treasury for Children.

I See Something

So says First Son as we munch on breakfast cereal. I say "What do you see?" Casually, because I think it's the stray cat we've been feeding in the hopes it'll stick around to decrease a certain surplus population.

"A cow!"

Yes, he did. Three heifers, in fact, that were doing some munching of their own. (Thank goodness our garden isn't in yet; the overnight temperatures have been wickedly cold.)

First Son and First Daughter thought they were ours to keep. They were a little disappointed when I said they'd have to go back to their own farm.

We called around and Kansas Dad even knocked on the farmer's door, but we never reached anyone. Eventually the heifers wandered back through another farmer's wheat field and we haven't seen them since.

Seriously Crazy Hair

I've posted about the crazy hair before, but now it's really getting out of hand. This was Second Daughter before church yesterday. We tried to wet it and slick it down, but it didn't make any perceptible difference.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Home-Made Mosaics

We had a plethora of structured activities on Friday (um, two). I posted about our coin sorting below. This one was inspired by these which I noticed in a catalog and immediately wanted. Being the frugal Mama I am, I devised an alternate plan. First Son was thrilled to help me with the project. I cut some cardstock into strips and he spent at least an hour slowly cutting all of the strips into squares and rectangles.

We saved them in baggies and pulled them out on Friday afternoon for some fun with glue sticks. Neither of the kids made what you could call a picture, but they had fun. First Daughter, in fact, didn't even really glue her squares down. She placed them on the paper and smeared the glue on top and all around them. You might be surprised to learn it's an adequate way to glue cardstock to paper.

At one point, First Son yelled, "I have a great idea!" He cut out a "7" from some other paper and carefully positioned red squares inside (no, not seven of them).

Definitely an activity we'll do again. It's not nearly as messy as painting but entertained the kids nearly as much. (I have a confession; I hate letting the kids paint. It takes me fifteen or twenty minutes to get everything out, they paint for five and leave the rest of the paint to dry, wasted, in the egg carton. And then I have to clean up. But we do paint, because I know it's good for them. Such sacrifices we mamas must make.)

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Quarters and Nickels and Dimes Oh My!

Our kids love playing with coins (and managed to con my parents out of all their change) so yesterday I thought I'd give this little activity a try. I printed out labels with the names of the coins and pictures of them and taped them to plastic containers I've saved (mainly from shredded parmesan cheese...we go through a lot of that here). I wanted the kids to put the coins in the proper container.

I'm not entirely sure what they learned, but here's what I learned:

1. First Daughter could not even separate the pennies from the rest. Since I know she knows the difference between brown and gray/silver, I'm guessing she was just too excited by the feel of the coins in her hands and the joys of pouring them back out of the containers (which did not please First Son, perhaps an added benefit for her).

2. First Son could not understand the fact that the pictures on the containers were not actual size. He would hold the coins up and if they matched the diameter (which they did surprisingly often when the coin was wrong), he was satisfied.

3. First Son cannot tell the difference between a quarter and a nickel. At first I was a little dismayed by this difficulty because they seem totally different to me, but Kansas Dad assures me the nickel has smooth edges because it's so similar to the quarter, so those who can't see well enough can easily feel the difference between the quarter and the nickel. (I've been married to the man for a decade and am still astounded at all the things he just knows!).

4. The kids love playing with coins. (Oh wait, I already knew that.)

I think we'll get these containers out again every so often because even if they don't learn anything, they had fun. I will, however, have to watch Second Daughter like a hawk because there's a good chance First Daughter would leave the coins lying around or just go ahead and feed them to her sister.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

No Bad Dreams

I know you've all been thinking all night about the wall decor in our bedroom. Here's a close up.

First Son made LarryBoy pictures for himself, First Daughter and our room to protect us all from bad dreams. He says it's just a picture, but it's still sweet.

This Is So Me

Suzanne Temple at Blessed Among Men.

I'm always turning away from videos and pausing as I read books because the tears are threatening. Most recently, it was Least of All, a sweet little book about Raven Hannah, a young Vermont girl who wants very much to help on the farm like her older brothers but she's always more of a hindrance than a help. When she's finally big enough for a task all her own, churning the butter, she also discovers it's a lonely task, sitting inside by herself as everyone else works elsewhere. So as she sits and churns, she searches through the Bible for the verses she's memorized at Sunday School and over the summer and fall months, teachers herself to read. She amazes the family, who have always treasured their Bible though not a one of them can read it.

Until Raven teaches them.

By the way, my dear Vermont friend, I thought of your family the whole time I was reading this book and highly recommend it to you!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

No Joke

Under the generous and patient guidance of my mom, I made curtains for our bedroom last week. Seriously. I went the easiest possible route: unlined, fringe on the sides so no hem there, no weights, very basic.

Here's a picture of the room with some liners in. I think they're really not dark enough so we may substitute actual darkening shades instead. Kansas Dad saw some that are cloth that I could hem to the right length (I can hem!) and then we'd probably move these to the office which doesn't need actual curtains since it gets a rather small amount of light right now with a tree just outside the window.

And here are the curtains. Right now only one is hanging because we ended up short one set of brackets. Kansas Dad bought another but is on a deadline so we aren't taking the time to hang them yet.

I tried to get a close up so you could see the pattern. I think we spent about five hours on them over the course of a few days, most of that time spent measuring, deciding how I wanted them to hang and ironing. Not included in that time is the two hours I spent picking the fabric, but it was worth it because I love it! (You'll have to come visit because the pictures doesn't do it justice. Of course, I made the bedroom ones first so no one would see them.)

I have no idea if I saved money. Anyone know what curtains cost? Despite the two hours on the fabric choice, I think I like them better than something I would have bought, and it's so fun to wander through the room during the day and think, "I made those."

Next up: Something for the kitchen window over the sink. The sun shines in at just the wrong angle when I'm doing dishes in the evening. I think that one will be more challenging. We have four big windows in the corner of the kitchen and I want what I put over the sink to coordinate with what I put in the corner but not be exactly the same.

Now I just need to get Second Daughter sleeping better so I have more time for sewing and such fun things.