Friday, March 22, 2019

Five Quick Things

1.  Little Girls. I'm not sure this next picture needs much explanation.

2.  Wholly Holey.  Last week when the weather was so nice, I saw this. 

I guess this tree is multi-purpose for birds-- a place to live and a woodpecker buffet.

3.  New Blog.  Afterthoughts isn't actually a new blog, but it is a new-to-me blog. It is a homeschool-y blog. I think it's a keeper for me. I haven't actually listened to any of the podcasts she does because I never have quiet time to listen to podcasts, but the posts are helpful and link to other things I sometimes like wasting time reading.

4.  Favorite Blog.  The Frugal Girl is my favorite blog. Hands down. She shares frugal tips. She shares recipes. She shares hilarious pictures of clothes she tries on. And she posts several times a week. She makes money from her blog, but she's not overly commercial (which is the problem I have with most blogs that are constantly pushing things). 

5.  My Daughter's Blog.  I don't let my children do a lot online, but my oldest daughter begged for a blog so that she could share her love of nature. (I steal some of her pictures sometimes.) She doesn't get to post often, but she wrapped up winter in her latest post on A Nature Girl's World.

Tuesday, March 19, 2019

New Wheels

After much consideration, price-checking, emailing, and weeping and gnashing of teeth (by a child who didn't want to give it up), we sold our old car. I bought our 1998 Civic fresh out of college so I would have a reliable car to get to my first teaching job. And reliable it was. Until it wasn't quite as reliable. It's not that it didn't work, but lately it was a lot of nickel and dime fixes. And then it was a little bit more than nickel and dime things.

The good old days-- the Civic holding shirts of kids working outside

So the decision was made. We have our van (the whole family vehicle) and our Suburban (the vehicle to haul things), but we felt we needed something that got more than 18 miles per gallon.

We bought a Subaru Outback.

Shiny and new



The only problem so far for me (which actually hasn't been a problem for me since I haven't yet filled it up) is that the gas tank is on the right side of the car. I've never had a vehicle with the gas on the right side. I guess I'll get used to it.

Wrong side

I guess the new car smell makes up for it. Here's to hoping this car holds up at least as long as the last one!

Saturday, March 16, 2019


Now, you might all be thinking, "She does this same post every year-- crocuses, robins-- how boring!" But there is something different for me this time-- a homeschooling freebie!

Anyway, three days ago, I felt spring in my bones, so I took a walk outside with my camera to dig through the leaves to see if the crocuses were up. And they were so close to being open, but I didn't think I could count this as the official spring indicator.

See? Not quite open yet.

Well, the next day, the children found another sign of spring and hollered for me to grab the camera.

Do you see them?

Maybe this one is a little better?

Yes, Robin Redbreast graced us with his presence, and so did all of his friends. That's pretty much the official beginning of spring in my mind, right there. But, I cannot ignore my crocuses, so I took a walk to the backyard again. Et voila!

Definitely official

My husband gathered the troops to re-make one of our raised beds. It is now smaller and taller, and sand the masons left in a pile is in it because this is our attempt to improve the soil for planting garlic later this year. I want to grow enough to make a braid. Or two.

All ready for planting

And while it is officially spring in my bones and my heart, a peek at Sideling Hill reminds me that winter might not be through with us yet.

If you look closely, you can just see the ice still on the south side of the cut.

Now, for my first freebie. reached out to me to offer a freebie to post on my blog. That was several weeks ago, but when I saw the worksheet, I knew I had to wait for my flowers because it is a spring word search (and answers). I hope you like these, and if you have difficulty accessing them, let me know because this is the first time I've done such an endeavor.

Thank you to for providing this fun addition to my little blog. They asked that I post the following, and I'm happy to do so; I know lots of homeschoolers (and other educators) benefit from the site. 

Learning opportunities are in full bloom with this spring-themed word search. Kids will have lots of fun hunting for words while they reinforce their spelling, vocabulary and word recognition skills. Even more fun learning resources are just a click away at!

Back to Jody's words-- I would also say this word search is one of those quick and easy activities that a mom who is homeschooling many sometimes needs to keep some busy while others need a little extra help. Enjoy!

Saturday, February 23, 2019

Week's End

I am forcing myself to blog before I get to work on the waffles the little one has been asking for so long. It seems that blogging and writing are things I merely desire to do, while providing for the children (food, clothing, education) is an obligation I can't ignore. It would be more frustrating for me if my obligations didn't bring me so much joy.

Anyway, here at the week's end I'm sharing a few random photos and thoughts.

First, have you ever experienced thunder in a snowstorm? This past Wednesday I was sitting at the table when there was a flash of light. My first thought was that the electricity was flickering and about to go out, so I told my eldest to hurry and fill a water pitcher. But that flicker was soon followed by a loud boom and rumble of thunder that shook the house! The lightning and thunder combo repeated three times, and each time felt so strange as I watched the snow fall outside.

Second, a week and a half ago, we had another snow and ice storm, and our power did go out. I was in the middle of making breakfast and had but one more omelette to make. Our cast iron griddle retains heat well, so I poured the eggs on and hoped for the best. 

As you can see by the pictures below, the best didn't happen, so we improvised with candles. Call it a science experiment. 

Blurry picture that captures the mood of the morning

Less blurry picture that captures our improvised stove

It took several adjustments beyond this to help cook these eggs. We added coasters under the candles to lift them closer to the griddle and added a couple more candles. I think the whole process took half an hour to produce some scrambled eggs.

And last, I have some pictures of a birthday cake from the vaults which I realized I hadn't shared. And you know how I love sharing my cake flops!

Magic hat on the outside. . . 

Total flop on the inside.
Almost two years ago, our eldest was really into learning to do magic tricks. So we made a magic hat cake. My idea was to make one of those cakes that had a surprise when you cut into it. I was going for cool circle shapes. I got a bunch of odd blobs that tasted weird from all the food coloring. You live and you learn, right?

Monday, January 28, 2019

Puzzle Sale

I've been running a sale on vintage puzzles (15% off) on my Etsy shop, Sideling View Crafts, for January. I forgot to mention it on this neglected blog, but no more. At least there are a couple of days left, if you are interested.

I've been surprised that not only avid puzzlers are interested in buying our puzzles. We've also had artists (interested in altered art and photography) and people interested in artists who have bought puzzles.

Here is a screenshot that shows some of the puzzles we have.

Yes, my son had to teach me how to do a screenshot.

Anyway, if you like puzzles or vintage or know anybody who is or any combination of the those, check it out or pass it on.

We've had a little snow lately, so we've been feeding the birds and enjoying their antics.

At first, after we put out our feeders and before it snowed, the only birds we saw were goldfinches. We could see some woodpeckers out in the woods, but only the finches were at the feeder. Then there was a bird that looked like a finch but with a red head. What was it? After much argument, we settled on a house finch.

Then came the snow and the tufted titmice, red-bellied woodpeckers, black-capped chickadees, and nuthatches. Juncos (two of which died after a run-in with our double glass doors) and our guineas enjoyed whatever dropped to the ground. And then came the blue jays and bright red cardinals (with their not-so-bright brownish ladies).

My favorite feeder-- made by our dear friend, Lance

Our birdwatching goes beyond the feeders and into the woods and on our roof. My eldest spotted a bluebird on our roof! Several weeks ago, we watched turkeys meandering through the yard and woods. And we've seen turkey vultures and hawks, too. 

This was taken in October, but it is a turkey vulture on our roof.

It's been quite the education and entertainment for us the past several weeks. Meals and lessons are interrupted as our attention is diverted away from the table. Now that we have our addition, we have two angles-- one from the dining room and one from the living room. 

What birds have you enjoyed this winter?

Tuesday, December 25, 2018

Merry Christmas

May each of you enjoy every blessing God showers on you this Christmas season! 

Our tree surrounded by the Lego train

Our new homemade tree topper

Close-up of our Lego decorations. Check out the fireman rescuing the Grandma from the tree.

The foil nativity which will hang no more, no matter how much masking tape is added

Special ornaments plus one fine-looking man (in his youth)

A long-time favorite from Oma

I finally felt comfortable putting a glass ornament on the tree (the bird).

The children were ready with blankies yesterday to open presents.

Merry Christmas!