“Look for a lovely thing and you will find it”

November 22, 2017 @ 8:51 am | Filed under: Books, Family, Fun Learning Stuff, Homeschooling, Poetry

As often as not, this is what our Poetry Teatime looks like: circus animal cookies on a Dominoes napkin. Yesterday we didn’t even remember to bother with something to drink. Although it doesn’t take much to elevate the event (plates would be a good start) 😉 — there are days when you know you’ll miss your moment if you don’t jump right in. This was one of those days. We had just enough time left in our morning for a no-frills poetry teatime and a short nature walk, or a frillier tea and no walk at all. The vote was to squeeze in both.

Huck certainly doesn’t care, as long as poetry teatime contains the two essentials: cookies + Shel Silverstein. He had us all howling with “The Nap Taker” (“I did not take a nap— / The nap took me”). Beanie picked the Lewis Carroll collection (more howls) and Rilla chose a family favorite: Jack Prelutsky’s Imagine That! Poems of Never-Was. (When she read “The Multikertwigo” I had such déja vu. I will always hear that poem in wee Jane’s four-year-old voice.)

I, of course, read selections from Favorite Poems Old and New. There would be a mutiny if I reached for anything else.

(I sneak more contemporary poems into other parts of our day. These children mustn’t grow up without some Billy Collins in their lives.)

Heads up: good deal on Creativebug subscription

November 21, 2017 @ 3:59 pm | Filed under: Fun Learning Stuff

This is a stellar deal: If you’re a new Creativebug customer, you can try a membership for just $1 for three months. I’ve raved about Creativebug many times in the past—we make good use of our subscription ($4.95/month), which gives us unlimited access to hundreds of classes. I pretty much always have a Creativebug challenge going in my sketchbook. Particular favorites are classes by Lisa Congdon, Pam Garrison, Jennifer Orkin Lewis, and Yao Cheng. Those all fall under the drawing and painting category, but Creativebug offers dozens of classes in knitting, crocheting, sewing, baking, soapmaking, and loads of other crafty things. I really consider it one of our best and most economical homeschooling resources.

Affiliate links, but I’m a genuinely happy customer. I couldn’t be more impressed with this platform.

A piece of my heart was already here

November 21, 2017 @ 8:28 am | Filed under: Books, Family, Photos

We live a block and a half from Klickitat Street. I know I don’t have to tell you booklovers what a thrill I get every time I see the sign. Four months in, it hasn’t gotten old. It never will, you know? My childhood copy of Beezus and Ramona is right here on the shelf. To this day, harmonicas sound like oh dear, oh dear to me. To this day, the first bite of an apple is the best. Fig Newtons are filled with worms, and the first one to see a white horse gets to make a wish, and when the room is dim you turn on a dawnzer for some lee light. If you need me, I’ll just be sitting here for the present.

Then the busy years went rushing by us

November 19, 2017 @ 8:20 pm | Filed under: Bloggity

Long, long ago, my children, when the woman was young and the blog was new, and the bees were thick in the flowering sage, and the melting of the polar ice was but a whisper in the dark, and “social media” was a lackluster intersection on a Scrabble board (even with a triple-letter square), there was in the course of each workday a blessed twenty-minute interval of transition between the homeschooling of the children and the writing of the books.

And lo, in this brief span of minutes, hundreds of posts were born.

And the blogger had Opinions and Earnestness, and sometimes Urgency, especially regarding Literary Things. For example, the blogger most fervently wished the world to read The Firelings, because no one seemed to know of it beyond the doors of her home.  And the blog flourished, and the pingbacks were abundant and formed pathways to other bloglands overflowing with rich discourse. 

But it is the way of the world, my children, that all things must change. In the words of the sage, oceans rise, empires fall, and homeschooling novelists get kinda busy. Or (for let us be honest, children) distracted by Twitter, by Facebook, by Instagram; lo, even by Goodreads. And thus it was that the blog suffered and grew silent. 

But now and again the blogger would read a book and long to Write a Post About It Like in the Old Days. 

And so it came to pass that—

Scott, walking by: What are you giggling about?

Me: Remember when I used to be able to write a post in twenty minutes? That was pretty cool.


November 14, 2017 @ 8:34 pm | Filed under: Assorted and Sundry

It is Tuesday, right? I keep getting calls to shift appointments around (IEP, audiology, the usual) and it has me discombobulated.


The Glass Castle just hit my Overdrive account. Is that what I want right now? Can you believe I’ve never read it?


My new hobby is doing dramatic readings of posts from the Nextdoor app. I’m recording them and texting them to my friend Lisa. I feel like I might have found my true calling at last. 😉


These are the podcasts I listen to regularly, ranked from never-miss-an-episode to catch-’em-when-I-can:
Pod Save America
Lovett or Leave It
The West Wing Weekly
Pod Save the People
Pod Save the World
Happier With Gretchen Rubin
Out of Line With Caroline Lee

I also like to save up Bravewriter podcast episodes until I have a bunch, and then binge on them when I have a busy-hands project to do.


The stars of our daily nature walks this week are moss and mushrooms. The puddles keep Huck happy while Rilla and I ooh and ah over the fungi.

P.S. thanks for the book suggestions on yesterday’s post. Keep ’em coming! I’m chairing Cybils YA Fiction this year ***but not reading on the panel*** and it hit me that that’s why I feel book-drifty. I’m using to being buried under stacks of novels this time of year.


November 13, 2017 @ 8:41 am | Filed under: Assorted and Sundry

My morning view is changing. From the reading chair in my studio I look out upon my backyard neighbor’s roof, and my next-door neighbors’ trees. This photo was taken on October 25th or 26th. Two weeks later, the trees on the right and the ones behind that chimney are bare. The robins that hopped in and out of that big magnolia on the left all day long seem to have moved to warmer quarters. I was surprised by how long they stuck around!

I worked a lot this weekend, so this morning I feel like I could use…a weekend. 😉 Instead, we have a full day in store: an audiology appointment for S, and then some lesson time with Huck and Rilla, and then I have another issue of The Arrow to wrap up.

But I feel like the major task I want to accomplish today is deciding what book to read. My option paralysis has hit again, something awful. I’ve read about twenty beginnings since the last book I finished. It’s maddening. I think what I’m wanting at the moment is a book both absorbing and stirring, with humor and local dramas…like Guernsey Literary Society or Where’d You Go, Bernadette?

Maybe I’ll just reread The Blue Castle for the four thousandth time while I make up my mind on something new.

Virginia Homeschoolers 2018 Conference & Resource Fair

November 13, 2017 @ 8:11 am | Filed under: Events, Homeschooling Conferences

Virginia homeschooling friends, save the date!

Where: The Cultural Arts Center at Glen Allen, Virginia
When: March 23-24, 2018
What: Virginia Homeschoolers 2018 Conference & Resource Fair

I’ll be the keynote speaker! I’m speaking on a number of topics including tidal homeschooling, habits, creativity (Makers Gotta Mess), and of course books & comics! Virginia Homeschoolers is a fantastic conference—when we lived in Crozet, I always eagerly looked forward to attending even when I wasn’t giving a workshop. 😉 I’m thrilled to be returning to my old Va. stomping grounds.

Mid-Atlantic friends, I would really love to see you there!

Happy Costume Day!

October 31, 2017 @ 8:13 am | Filed under: Thicklebit

Into the Thicklebit by Scott Peterson, Melissa Wiley, and Chris Gugliotti

Beanie, age 4



Rose and Bean, 2011 (I think)


Halloween 2015

Beanie the Riveter, 2016

Halloween 2016


I’m not ready to let you go, October

October 30, 2017 @ 7:56 pm | Filed under: Assorted and Sundry

I don’t have time to write, which is exactly why I’m writing. I don’t want to let too much time pass with silence in this space. I’ve realized one of the reasons I lean on Instagram is because I can do it in bed—last thing at night, or early in the morning, lying there cozy under my quilt, playing with photos. It’s relaxing. But the WordPress phone app works just as well as Instagram. I don’t know why it never occurs to me to blog from there. I guess because I think of blogging as long-form, even though that’s totally ahistorical.

Anyway, here I am. I’m working really, really long days, these days. Have to make up for time missed during my illness. Thank goodness for our high-tide mornings. Homeschooling is the fun part of my day. We’re reading Comet in Moominland (still! begun in San Diego!), taking loooong nature walks (oh these trees!), and reading Lewis & Clark, Paddle-to-the-Sea, and a lot of poetry. Beanie and I are supposed to be starting a big Shakespeare project this week, but I’m behind on the reading. 😉

A fun thing: I held my first live monthly Q&A session this afternoon for my Patreon subscribers! We talked about what tidal homeschooling looks like with teens, books about the craft of writing, and I answered a question about Martha and Charlotte books. I also shared a stack of picture books we’ll be reading tomorrow for Halloween, and I finished up with a piece of advice about encouraging creativity. If you are interested in tuning into these monthly chats (either live or in replay), they’re available to all subscribers to my Patreon at the $3/month-or-more level.

Become a Patron!

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