Give me neither poverty nor riches, but give me only my daily bread - Proverbs 30:8

Wednesday, March 25, 2015

Big Things and Little Things

taking a moment to find joy in the little things

We went for a short hike on Saturday and it was the perfect day for rainbow sightings.

I'm also continuing to enjoy all the blooms of spring. There is such a huge variety of what grows here in the Pacific Northwest and it seems every time I go for a walk or run, there is something new that is in bloom.

We found a couple tiny bird nests on our hike this weekend. It was a pretty windy day and I'm guessing these blew right out of the trees because they were on the ground. I told the girls a few weeks ago that I was wanting a read bird nest so I was happy to discover these.

Also making me very happy this week...Compassion put out a new app for iphone. If you sponsor a child through Compassion and have an iphone, you will love this. I talk more about all that's offered on this app HERE.

Usually after a trip to the library my girls will curl up on the couch or beanbag to read the books we brought home. This past week, however, they disappeared into my bathroom and when I went looking for them, this is what I found...I guess the big tub is good for something. Maybe I should line it with pillows and blankets for comfort.

It's been a long, emotional week for me. My grandma (who is 99) has suffered a stroke and has been slowly slipping away. Last week we thought she was in her last hours, but here it is a week later and she's still lingering. I know she's in God's hands and am thankful that she's resting peacefully, but it's been hard on all of us. My mom is there with her and my brother and I are both far away, waiting and trying to figure out what to do. On Sunday I played my violin for her (through the phone) and was even joined by my girls for a couple songs. I come from a small family and have always been very close to my Grandma. She's been such a constant in our lives and it's hard to imagine her gone. I'm so thankful for the wonderful memories I have of her. She has loved us well.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Good, Random, Fun ~ Week 11

the GOOD
We went to the coast last Monday and it was glorious! I love going on a weekday because you end up having the beach to yourself. We had a great time flying kites, exploring tide pools and soaking up the sun.

school work, Saturday hike (with a rainbow sighting), my Irish fiddle
Spring blooms

the FUN
Building my rainbow continues....

I'm linking up with Good, Random, Fun

Friday, March 20, 2015

Random 5 Friday


1. Spring is here officially and I'm very excited about that. Spring came to the Pacific Northwest early this year, but it's still nice to know that soon I can plant the garden and that the trees will have leaves. 

2. It's also ant season. On our walk the other evening we passed several thousand ants.

3. There is a house in our neighborhood that has what we call the humming bird hotel. We've walked by a few times now and each time there are multiple hummingbirds hanging out on the front porch. We've counted as many as 9 at a time. 

 4. One year ago today we arrived in Thailand and spent the day with our sponsored child, Orm.

5. Been thinking about my grandma a lot this week. She's 99 (100 in June) and is slipping away quickly. We think she had a stroke earlier this week. She's not talking anymore, and is hardly eating and drinking. I'm so thankful for the wonderful memories I have and that I've had her in my life this long.

linking up with A Rural Journal for Random 5 Friday

Thursday, March 19, 2015

The Oregon Coast

taking a moment to find joy in the little things

After a very rainy weekend, we had sunshine and warmer weather on Monday. Thankfully, my husband had the day off and we took advantage of it to spend a day at the Oregon Coast. We visited several different spots and had a lovely time exploring and playing.  It's so nice to be there on a weekday when most of the crowds are gone. 

These first few shots are from my front yard. I've been trying to get out and practice using the manual settings on my camera more. It's just so easy to put it on auto and snap away. But I need to learn how to shoot in manual mode.


One of the beaches we went to had a short walk through an old growth forest and this guy greeted us on the path. You can't really tell from the picture, but all the stuff growing out of the top of the log made him look like he had hair. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Black and White Wednesday ~ The Coast

We had a glorious day trip to the coast on Monday and I thought a couple of my photos would transfer well to black and white. I'll be sharing more photos (in color) on Thursday so be sure to come back!

Linking up with  Black and White Wednesday 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

How We Homeschool ~ Music

Being a violin teacher myself, it only seems natural that my girls would play a string instrument. I used to say I would never teach them violin because I wanted to be in awe of what they could do, and it's too easy to be critical when you are a violin teacher by profession. I thought maybe they should play cello since I can't but have always wanted to, but then I would have to pay someone else to do and I'd probably be critical of that person and their teaching style. Sigh. Sometimes I wish I had listened to myself because teaching them violin is NOT EASY, but most of the time I feel absolutely blessed to share this experience with them.

I've learned to take a very relaxed approach with them and it seems to be working. They aren't little prodigies, by any means, but they do a decent job, and more than anything I want them to find joy in playing and sharing music.

There is no short cut or easy way to learn to play an instrument. The best way to become fluent in music is to spend a lot of time listening to music and playing your instrument.

We aim for daily listening and practicing and in reality, we succeed 5 or 6 days a week. The days we miss are my fault - I often don't have the energy on the weekends when we are out of our school routine and doing other things. I've found that if we don't do violin early in the day, it's very hard to have a quality practice session later in the day. Right now we do violin after the "work" part of our school day, and right before lunch. The girls also have a lesson with me once a week - usually on Monday or Tuesday. We started doing this because I could easily treat each practice session as a lesson and they want me to treat them like I would my other students (whom I only see at lesson once a week).

We have a music room in our house, and this is where we keep our instruments, but for the lesson they come to my room. During the lesson, I ask them to call me Mrs. Foley (and they roll their eyes). I ask them how their practicing went that week, if their mom remembered to have them listen to their current piece...I even tell them messages to relay to their mom about what they need to practice. I give them an assignment sheet or update their practice notebook so they know exactly what they will practice each day.

I really like having our instruments out and ready to play - this way it's easy to pick it up and play.  I've always told my students that the hardest part of practicing is getting the violin out of the case. And likewise, the hardest part of listening to your current piece is pressing "play".

Included in this book: their review list, their current scale, their current technique exercise, their current piece and sightreading. Like the list of work assignments for school, this notebook helps them know exactly what needs to be done each day. When it's written out there is no arguing.

My oldest likes to practice on her own, and I let her about half of the time. She also likes to color coordinate her music marking slurs in one color, dynamics in another and so on. Again, I let her (I photo copy the music first).

So that's a peek into the musical part of our homeschooling....

Monday, March 16, 2015

Good, Random, Fun ~ Week 10

the GOOD
I was given a #5h20shotchallenge on instagram...5 pics of water. I chose to use my macro lens to capture water droplets on flowers and really loved the challenge. These are all flowers growing already in my garden.

magnolia blooms, a cool road, forsythia blooms
my lenten wreath, blooming trees, daffodils and books
more trees blooming, stages of a daffodil, blue skies

the FUN
Still working on building a rainbow this month. I'm excited about how this will look when all the pictures are collected in calendar form. Here are my color entries so far.

here is what my rainbow looks like so far...

I'm linking up with Good, Random, Fun