As the name of my blog indicates, I spend a lot of time thinking about home. Of course, my Heavenly Home is the one that is eternal, so that’s where I need to lay up my treasures, and that’s the one I’m striving for. But in the meantime, I have been given this tiny piece of the here-and-now—this home on the edge of town, this family, this neighborhood—in which to serve Him. And, though this is in the earthly realm, I want the things that happen here to be investments in the Heavenly realm.

Friday, May 25, 2018

New and Old on the Sun Porch


This little rustic blue fish I found at a local antique store this week.

And a dish garden of succulents Kristin and family gave me for Mother's Day.


This old girl. 
She loves the sun porch when the weather gets warm. In fact, the hotter, the better.

Can you believe that it is nearly summertime? 

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Homeschooling: Field Trip to Annapolis

One of the joys of eclectic homeschooling is the freedom to follow rabbit trails!

During the art portion of Morning Time this school year, we had learned about Rembrandt and James McNeill Whistler. (As an aside, our study of Whistler was surprisingly fun! I knew Whistler only as the painter of Whistler's Mother which I saw as austere. But Whistler himself was far from austere! Watch this documentary to learn more.) We needed to choose another artist to finish out the year. 

Our history studies have taken us to the Colonial period and we did an overview of the founding of each of the thirteen colonies. As we learned about our own state of Maryland, I remembered a book I had read with my older children about the early American portrait painter from Maryland, Charles Willson Peale. So I went to our own shelves and pulled out Painter of Patriots by Catherine Owens Peare. (I had purchased my own copy of this out-of-print biography a few years back.)

George Washington at the Battle of Princeton by Charles Willson Peale

Charles Willson Peale, prolific painter, businessman, politician, and naturalist, was born in Chestertown, Maryland. His father died when Charles was ten years old. The family moved to Annapolis, a wealthier town with a better market for his mother's beautiful embroidery work, and Peale spent the remainder of his childhood and a good portion of his adulthood there.

As we read, I began to wonder if there was not something in Annapolis that we could visit . . . perhaps a childhood home, perhaps a workplace, perhaps a public display of one of his paintings. A quick internet search led me to Hammond-Harwood House, "The Jewel of Annapolis," which has a substantial collection of Peale paintings.

So on a picture perfect May day, we enjoyed Colonial history, art history, and good eats on a visit to our state's capital, Annapolis!

Here, Bekah stands in front of Maryland's State House. Did you know that this building actually served as the capital for the brand new United States, from November 1783 to to August 1784? It is also the oldest state house in America still in continuous use.

Downtown Annapolis has beautiful brick sidewalks and streets, lovely old buildings rich with history, and charming shops and cafes.

We ate a delicious lunch at Harry Browne's (a crab cake sandwich for me, a "Capital Burger" for Ron, and a roasted chicken panini for Bekah),

with a fabulous view of the State House right outside our window!

At Hammond-Harwood House, we visited an exhibit area while waiting for our tour to begin. There were several portraits painted by Charles Willson Peale, including this one of Mr. Thomas Anderson. This is the only Peale painting that I photographed, because I didn't learn until the end of the house tour that non-flash photography was permitted.

As our tour began, the docent told us that this is one of the most photographed doors in America! The architecture of the Hammond-Harwood house is amazing, a five-part Anglo-Palladian house built in 1774. (Read ~here~ for more about the architecture and construction of the house.)

This view of the Hammond-Harwood House (not my photo) shows all five parts of the home and reveals the symmetry that is a hallmark of Anglo-Palladian architecture. 


Can you believe that these boxwoods in the back garden were planted in 1825?!

At this point, we were well into the tour. I have no pictures of the entire downstairs . . . dining room, parlor, entry, colonial floorcloth, beautiful furnishings (a large collection of John Shaw originals) and art.


My photo is fuzzy, but I love the coverlet and the fabric in these bed hangings!

Brick floors in the kitchen.

Be still my colonial heart! I love this stepback cupboard!

Back outside, our docent pointed us to something of interest. Jeremiah Loockerman apparently carved his initials in an exterior brick back in 1829!

(Hmmm . . . over 150 years later, our own son carved his pseudonym on a brick at our house! There is nothing new under the sun, I suppose.)  😁

Jeremiah Loockerman's initials, circa 1829

Ryan's pseudonym, circa 1990

After the tour, it was on to Fox Books.

F. O. X.

If you've watched You've Got Mail, you get the reference. (It's really "Old Fox Books" but we edited out the "Old" to make it fit.)

And coffee time at Brown Mustache Coffee. What a great way to end a field trip!

I love how our little rabbit trail into the life of artist Charles Willson Peale let to more "trails" of learning! We "met" other artists in the biography (Benjamin West, John Singleton Copley). We learned more about our state's colonial history. We learned about our state house. (We'd like to tour it next time around.) We learned about Andrea Palladio and Palladian architecture. We learned about John Shaw, colonial cabinet maker. We even learned a tidbit about horticulture! (Who knew that boxwoods could live for two hundred years?!)

Don't be afraid to follow rabbit trails, homeschool mom! You never know what you'll turn up!

Friday, May 18, 2018

First Formal

Life is happening faster than I can blog! That's not at all a bad thing, but I do want to post a few things for the record. (Do you know what I'm talking about, fellow bloggers?) 

As the school year nears its end, we have had several special culminating activities. We're ending the year with a bang! And there are a few more events to come. Although she is probably my shyest child, Bekah is also one of my most social. Does that make sense? She will likely be one of the quietest in the room, but that doesn't keep her from wanting to do all. the. things.

This spring, Bekah attended her first formal! It was a special evening, hosted by a nearby homeschool co-op. We liked that it was not only open to couples, but to groups of kids as well. 

One of the best parts for me? The hair and make-up session before the formal! Bekah and Maddie, and friends Grace and Lydia curled and sprayed and powdered and polished, with Kati helping too. So much girliness . . . so much fun!

Yes, there was a young man here too. Gavin came along with Maddie and began the afternoon reading his book. Then the two of us went on a coffee run and after we distributed the drinks, he remained at the table with the girls. (Smart boy, huh?) 

And here they are, all dolled up for the formal!
Granddaughter Maddie, 13
(How can she look so grown up?!)

Grandson Gavin, 15 

Daughter Bekah, 17

Grace, 17

Lydia, 14

A beautiful/handsome group! 

Precious young people with so much of life before them.

It was a privilege to be a small part of this "first"!

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Sunday Snapshots {Mother's Day 2018}

Mother's Day was a sweet finale to a busy week of "vacation"! On Sunday, we had twenty-two people around our table(s), chatting, feasting on a casual meal (chicken strips, my mom's awesome potato salad, fresh veggies and dip, and fruit salad) and, of course, honoring our mothers. Mother's Day is a "pretty" holiday, don't you think . . . an opportunity to embrace pink and roses and all things feminine.

Ooooo . . . dessert. Beautiful white cupcakes, strawberries, and a pavlova bar. Individual pavlovas could be topped with your choice of fresh whipped cream, chocolate whipped cream, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries, and chocolate chips.

We took lots of photos. We exchanged tokens of love. (This mama received three live plants! Again I ask, Can I keep them alive? I am going to try!) We had Wrapping Paper Antics. (Kristin received a unique Mother's Day dragon, a limited edition by Gavin created with Mother's Day tissue paper! Did I say "unique"? Yes!) We had a couple of musical selections and a skit. We laughed a lot! The children were singing a song they had learned in choir. It is sung as a round. Well, the first two began and something got them tickled. I mean, so tickled they had to stop singing. They regained their composure and began again. It was going well, and then Maddie's voice cracked and the laughing took over again. The third and fourth attempts also ended in a fit of giggles. You know how it is when the harder you try to stop laughing, the more you laugh? That was it! And the more they laughed, the more we all laughed! It was not the smoothest performance ever, but oh what fun we had! If "a merry heart does good, like medicine," then everyone left the party a little healthier! 

After (an incomplete) clean-up, the four of us went to visit to Ron's mom. Ron was the last of her eight children to pay her a Mother's Day visit, so she said that we "made her day." "Well, that is a pretty easy way to make someone's day," I said, but she insisted that it did. (Thinking it over later, I pondered that perhaps it can be just that easy to make someone's day. Note to self: Try more often to make someone's day.)

We arrived home just before 8 pm, in time to watch the new Little Women on Masterpiece. I had been so excited to watch it. Little Women was one of my favorite childhood books and we have watched every one of the movie/television versions of Little Women, so I was eager to see how this one compared. I loved this version, although it didn't top my favorite (the one with Winona Ryder as Jo).

(Would you like to take a quiz to see which Little Women sister you're most like?)

How did you spend your Mother's Day? 

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