"God made us for joy. God is joy, and the joy of living reflects the original joy that God felt in creating us." (St. John Paul the Great)

Friday, September 4, 2009

Quick Takes - Volume 2


--- 1 ---

The basement is done! It's been mostly done since Monday, but now it's official -- I am unpacked and moved in and organized, with the exception of hanging things on the walls. And I'm not sure how much of that I'm going to do -- it doesn't seem worth it if we're likely moving again in a year, but it does make it seem more homey.

Before ...

... and after!

Before ...

... and after!

Before ...

... and after!

Okay, I know I'm a little neurotic about the plastic bins, but doesn't it look beautiful!?! And they're all labeled!

And there's room to jump this winter!

I can once again tell you where everything is in my house. (sigh of relief). Tranquillitas ordinis!

--- 2 ---

Now that the house is organized, I am ready to start planning the school year. (sigh ... not of relief). I do have most of my books. And I am really excited about using these for the first time.

--- 3 ---

I am also really excited about our new language arts program.
TLP offers literature-based, discovery style learning designed for Christian education. Our authors select exceptional literature and integrate the separate parts of language arts: spelling, vocabulary, grammar, and writing, as well as critical thinking and communication.
I'm most excited about the integrated approach to the various language arts subjects -- instead of having separate workbooks for spelling/vocabulary, grammar, handwriting, phonics, and reading comprehension, which we have had in the past, all of these subjects are in one workbook, and all of the lessons are based on a work of literature -- we're starting with The Courage of Sarah Noble.

Has anyone else tried this program?

--- 4 ---

I came across this quote from the Greek philosopher Plato this week:
The most effective kind of education is that a child should play amongst lovely things.
I started to think about the lovely things I wanted my children to play amongst: nature, music, and art. Besides getting outside as often as possible (which sometimes isn't all that often in the cold Minnesota winters with an infant), we are going to try and have fresh cut flowers on the table as often as possible. We are also going to choose one composer each month to learn about. We'll start with a biography and then listen to and become familiar with various compositions during dinner time once or twice a week. (Listening to something together during dinner has been a huge blessing in my effort to lessen the noise factor around here in the evenings!) We are also going to continue using Artistic Pursuits for art -- this year we're doing stories of artists and their art. When I was little one could check out framed prints at our local library. I wonder if they still do that? That would be a great inexpensive way to get art in our home.

What lovely things do you surround your little ones with?

--- 5 ---

My girls both dance competitively and have received about fifty medals and ribbons each already! I came across them when I was unpacking and now they're sitting in a box on my desk. Does anybody have any clever ideas of what to do with all of them?

--- 6 ---

Another first for The Baby:

the Johnny Jump Up!

--- 7 ---

My friend John posted some awesome commercials on his blog today. I don't know anything about the organization Catholics Come Home, but if their commercials are any indication ... check it out!

For more Quick Takes visit here.


  1. Oh my goodness you do have a lot of stuff and bins!! Good thing you know how to organize!

    We basically do the same as you. We surround ourselves with nature and art...oh and lots of nerf guns. I have 3 boys.

    do you live near jamie and i (stcloud?)

  2. Did Christine just give away my location? What is wrong with you bloggers?

    Michelle, can you come over and organize our bins like yours? I have to show my hubby your basement, because he thinks we own more bins than anyone in the world. I think you own more. I love bins though, don't you?

    Great job!!

  3. Jamie - I think everyone has or can figure out I live on Ford Island by now. I give a little away and then it's all out there. Oh, well, I have security guards . . . ya gotta be on a tour bus (and they watch you like hawks so you can't wonder off) or tote an ID.

    Say, the bins and organization looks FANTASTIC! When you holiday in Honolulu some time in the next three years, you can help me, yeah? I need to go buy more bins. I have the label machine thingy. Okay . . . now my mind is reeling to get going on finishing unpacking.

  4. When I had a basement it was full of bins, but they were a different animal -- opaque so I could just shove in them all the stuff I should instead throw out and pile them in the corners. We got so we had so many that we made mazes out of them. It was fun, actually. . ...
    It looks really beautiful.

  5. Thanks for the affirmation, ladies!

    Christine, I live in St. Paul -- not terribly far from you guys.

    Jamie and Sarah-Kala, I'd love to visit -- St. Cloud in the summer, Honolulu in the winter! ; )

    twoways, mazes ... sounds like a fun thing to try this winter!

  6. GREAT job at organizing the basement, Michelle! I know that's a BIG job, especially with all the kids running around ... Your bins look fantastic, though, and I am all about labeling, too. One of my favorite Christmas presents about 5 years ago was a label maker. How nerdy is that?! I just checked out "The Courage of Sarah Noble" from the library. I hope to use it as a read-aloud with Anna (and maybe Olivia =)

    P.S. I hope the first week of school goes well! Sending prayers your way ...


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