Wednesday, July 27, 2016


Trying out the lunchbox packing for Esme - getting my list together of things to have on hand for making such things etc...  Also checking with the bus garage to make sure they are on things - still in testing mode, they said... We haven't received or found a supply list yet for this year, but I hope to stop by the school tomorrow morning as they said the classes would be posted on the door this week. 

We are planning on buying clothing for her this weekend and I start my vacation tomorrow. 

We are about 3/4 of the way through Harry Potter and the Sorceror's Stone as our bedtime book.
I'm halfway through the third Outlander book on my Kindle.

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Textile medium stencilled shirt

Playing with my textile medium and acrylic paints.  The octopus shirts we made a few years ago are still holding up.  I cut out the tree and bird out of cardstock and used them as stencils... had to add the other details to cover up both the mud splatters that were originally on the shirt and a few paint drips I made when starting the stencil.

Not bad... thinking about doing a few more and another tea towel if I can think of a good pattern.
//Some of the gold highlights washed out, even after heat setting... but it still looks pretty cool - as if it is old and not 'new'.  The bird stayed clear but some of the gold 'moon' around it washed out here and there.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

the bits of blue and orange fur

We took Grandma into town today, did some shopping, let Esme have a good run around in the indoor park.  Now she has been outside in the sprinkler, fed chickens and is spending a long time in a cool bathtub.  Over 90 out.... not so bad of a 'sport'.  I've asked her to help me sort through her books in her room... and later plan on clearing out shelves and combining toy containers to free some up for other things.  I put her 'sports equipment' like the soccer ball and baseball and tennis stuff all in one big container - so we will be able to grab what she needs quicker than in the past. Making progress.  I'm working on recipe ideas for her lunchbox, as well as mine.  Cleaning up a few more areas, the wire rack for food boxes on our table, the wire rack for shoes in the bath... etc etc.  I bought Esme's shoes for school.  So, little things are making progress.

 A study of 'orange on orange on orange'
Pumpkin and her kitten Caramel


I put this shawl downstairs in Esme's room for using at night when I am reading with her .. sometimes I need one and diving under her blanket seems a bit much and I don't want to climb back upstairs to get one.  It is a blue 'fur' yarn and then when that ran out, I started in with a blue acrylic I had a lot of.  I'm starting another one based on something I saw on Ravelry with drop stitches.. but not sure how I'll go with it yet -- I began with the scraps from the rug and other items I was working on.  I promised myself another crochet bag for Esme's stuffed toys too - the first one is proving more useful than not.

The other night I made some creamy Italian garlic salad dressing and it was strong but good.  I wrote down a number of recipes and put it in a notebook down in the kitchen.  We got one ear of corn, more tomatoes and some okra out of the garden.  I might try to bake a little breaded okra tonight in the toaster oven for myself. 

Friday, July 22, 2016

bits and dressing

Esme killed her games tablet this morning - accidentally dropped it (again).. and it didn't come back this time.  She is in mourning, of a sort.  I told her she could get a new game this morning if she could modulate her voice and follow directions really well for about three days.. and she had.  And then she does that just before I wake up in the morning.  Well.  She cried for about a half hour and then moved back to her computer game.  It's not the end of the world but she isn't getting another one for a while.  $$, and we have to get her school things still.

On a side note I've been playing with salad dressing from scratch.
Extra virgin olive oil.
Dijon brown mustard
Cider or red wine vinegar
(maybe some lemon juice in a future one)....

I have this bad habit of buying a dressing, putting it in the back of the fridge after using it three times, and then believing it has gone bad and not touching it until it truly has gone bad and wants to eat me instead.  Trying to break that habit by making it from scratch in small quantities when I need it.  It has worked pretty well this week.

Thursday, July 21, 2016

Esme's testing and meeting

The meeting was fairly quiet - there were probably a lot of things I could have or should have said... but I didn't. because it gets intimidating faced with a group of people who will be in control of how good or bad the year can be.  I did say that Esme would be a challenge.. but I should have said she is a really good kid.  But did I have to say that?  She is!  She is an intense, loving, funny kid who really has a firm sense of herself but also has no idea yet why she can't be herself with other adults the way she is with us ... We understand she will have disagreements, need to talk about things, need to be put in her place for the time being about things (like bedtime at home) etc... but it doesn't affect our feeling that she is a good kid... just sometimes an exasperating one.  But that is human.  And when you start telling someone to control their natural emotions (I don't mean running and screaming, I mean common conversational emotions we all have) and act like a quiet robot all day long... then we cause deeper problems for the future.

I know.  Sometimes I still have to tell myself to loosen up, say what I mean instead of nothing and sometimes stand up for myself by saying No, or saying I really do want something that others aren't interested in at that time.  And I'm happier when I acknowledge these things.  Things build up otherwise.

On to Esme's testing.
She scored at or above grade level in everything except timed reading passages, timed math calculation, spelling and written expression.  At the same time an untimed test that measures 'quality of written content' scored her extremely high - but did not take off points for wrong spelling, punctuation or grammar as the other test she scored low did.  This is 'textbook' I was told (not by them, but by the speech and language group I belong to) for a child who started out with an expressive language delay.  Those are the areas related to word retrieval, order and 'expressive production'... which takes her a bit longer than other children her age.  It will likely be a 'weak point' to be worked on all the way up through college.  It is similar to a type of dyslexia, but not in relating what word is being read -- what word/symbol/math fact is being extracted from the many that relate to what is being seen/heard.

Her actual reading, actual math problem solving and application of knowledge scored far above age.    When she is not under pressure and has something laid out in front of her that is not spelling or writing, she knows her stuff and shows it.   They stated her actual knowledge and ability to apply it is superior to her age level - while pointing out the weaknesses in language related areas.

Overall the test placed her at a mean grade equivalent of fourth grade, and a year ahead.  But, the spelling and writing definitely do show she needs to start in third grade.  Those will affect her progress in tasks that will be important in other grades.  She wants to go into third grade - she has high hopes of meeting the same children she was with in first grade and becoming fast friends again....*Mama jitters*

They mentioned some about a small town, people talking about choices etc... She is eight.  We pulled her out of that bad environment with what I have been told was a very badly matched teacher... we pulled her before the bullying and erratic discipline behavior turned into something that would cause long lasting effects.  The most important fact to me as a Mom was her language skills were still poor when it came to time and describing situations with other people.  The teacher was resistant to explain her reasoning for the constant detentions and when she did - they made very little sense or - worse - were noticeably insensitive to Esme's language difficulty.  So - it cut down the stress and anxiety for all parties for me to teach her from home.  It took Esme several months to calm down and get less anxious about 'school' related things after that.  I still feel we made the right choice at the time but wished our resources had been greater in this area to have a better alternative for social groups and teams to participate with during the homeschooling years.

Her spoken language has improved greatly.  We have no trouble talking about what happened today vs. yesterday anymore - if something DID happen or DIDN'T happen.  She does still sometimes twist instructions all around and miss the entire point of something.. but *sigh* well.....  Her vocabulary is greatly expanded - the test showed that.  I told her she could return when I thought she was ready.  She's ready to try.  It won't be a piece of cake - but we're ready to take on the challenge again.

She is excited - a bit worried.  I'm trying not to be worried to death... but that is my personality especially when it comes to her.  They said the class placement info will be up next week.  I need to call the bus garage and get us on the route, and then shop for her materials in the weeks remaining.

They said they'd give her their all to make a good adjustment back.
I'm trying to do that too, and not be too critical until I see if anything has changed for the better.

Monday, July 18, 2016


We're scheduled to meet the principal for the re-entry meeting tomorrow morning.  I'm hoping it goes well.  We've arranged for Esme to stay at her Grandma's so we can get  there on time and she can have fun with Grandma in a sleepover.  She told us she hopes it all comes out well and good luck.  Ironic.  I am a little worried, yes.  I came home and cleaned up our entryway of outside tools and garden pots and etc.. and then went and cleaned the door in the downstairs hallway that has glass panes.  Both areas look much nicer and neater now.  Little bit at a time, one area after another...

Esme quote: Mom, I know you like this cleaning and this (lavendar pine sol) is kind of nice, but have you thought at all what the dogs think about this?  Do you think they like this smell?  There are eight of them and we should think about them.

Next : I do have a large pile of books to go through we just don't have any place to put them.  And Esme's room needs a sorting of baby books and a giveaway on those... I hate to throw out books of any kind, but she needs the room as well.  And then we have another area in our bath that has old shoes and boots in a wire basket I will tackle next.

Other : I picked up the folder for my Magpie book again yesterday and reworked it over again and added another chapter.  I want to work the Watch Brigade story into that too - to make the characters all part of the same family... but I'm not sure yet how to do it.  And, I still haven't let anyone else read it, although I have told the storyline to Grandma and to G's mom trying to work out some things.  It still needs more ....purpose - drive, reasons for the story.  It is so dreamlike too, it makes it even harder to pull off that 'why do I want to read this and not something else?'.  But, nine printer pages in small type and about five chapter breaks... ideas for illustrations, and places to expand.  Not bad for something I started last December and haven't worked on much.  And I still really like several things in it.  It has potential.