It’s up to us to be the change
And even though we all can still do more
There’s so much to be thankful for.

Even with our differences
There is a place we’re all connected
Each of us can find each others light.

(Songwriters Carole Bayer Sager, David Foster, Richard Page.)

My mind travels from one person to another, from one place to another, from dreams to memories, from hopes to wishes. I am connected to these in different ways, in different places by different reasons.  And they are all here.   And I am thankful for them all.

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Simple Machines

We got one of those great Discovery Kits from our local library to start us off this year, Simple Machines.  It comes with a couple of books and hands on materials, I think mostly targeted and more interesting to the younger kids, but it’s been working for us to get us started and going in a new direction, adding a little something different to our main unit.

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We played a little with the materials, and then  gave something to do a little more research on.

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We read this book and decided to do a little more research than the book gave us at times, depending on what seemed interesting at the moment.

When reading about screws, we had fun, and posted about it here.

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When we read about gears, we checked out a new Discovery Kit from our library about gears and posted about it last month, here.

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Working with pulleys was fun too, though this kit in particular was a little tippy, but still fun I think.

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We also checked out some books and videos that gave us a little more insight in each one:

We found this narrow house, The Wedge from Scotland.  It is 47 inches wide in the front, making it the slimmest house in the world.  I wonder if they have as much trouble finding a washer and a dried fit through their door, as we have in our own house!  The good side of it, is that there is only one of each that we can actually buy.  No decisions issues here!

All these projects and thoughts in physics reminded me to Mark’s assignment while we were at Scindia School in India,  in his teaching semester.  His Physics Club decided to do a Rube Goldberg Machine, which by no means one can rely 100% on it, because that is the part of science that is not 100% certain.  It has uncertainty, it hace a margin of error, it has many possibilities that can go wrong not making this machine work, or do what is suppose to do.  But it doesn’t make it any less science.  It doesn’t make it a failure or something you can’t learn about, or less scientific.  No, I don’t think so. At least I don’t. Wow… just thinking about it brings me stress remembering all the worries and stress that brought to Mark and his students having to make it work this one time, for the show.  Wow… phew! I’m glad it’s over.


in the kitchen

As always, there’s been lots of cooking. We don’t go out a lot, so there’s 3 meals a day having to be had. Breakfast is not my forte, so it’s simple.  Lunch sometimes the kids prepare it for the three of us at home during the day, but we’ve been busy and trying new routines, so that’s on trial.

But there’s dinners.  That’s a must of course, the meal we spent together around our table, no one misses.  Some times we have friends over, and that is great too.  But it is our time together, to catch our breathes, to check in, to see what the week will bring us, and how our day was.  It is a very special time I am so glad we can spend it together, each day.

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And a menu has been so helpful, that I dread when I’m not on top of it, because it saves so much time, knowing what we are having at least during the week, when we are all more tired.

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But it requires some planning, and organizing.  Something I am trying to do.  All those magazine cutouts, with recipes I’d love to try.  but the pile keeps growing, and meals are happening… and not from this pile.  I need to go through them and then pick what to cook for the week.  it gives us 5 new meals to try, and thank goodness my family doesn’t mind new foods, because who knows!  There might be a keeper from all those clipped recipes!  but the menu is set for the week and I can breathe at ease again.

I’ve enjoyed chai daily.  Few times a day actually.  I make it with decaf tea, so it’s good for any time of the day. It is Heather’s recipe that I tweak here and there a bit, but follow it for the most part.

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And of course it tastes even better in my new birthday mug!

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I made our favorite apple cinnamon muffins.  They are so good!

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For my birthday I got two bread proofing baskets.  Not sure which bread recipe I can use them with, but I gave it a try with the bread I make every week.

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It grew some, but I think it didn’t get the whole effect it’s suppose to get from these baskets.DSC_0547 copy DSC_0548 copy (Before baking)

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But there’s nothing wrong about getting a cute looking homemade warm bread at dinner time, right?

We’ve had lots of other foods baked and cooked, and served, I just haven’t taken pictures. What have you’ve been cooking lately?  Please do share, I’d love to try new recipes.

playing at the park

DSC_0182 copy On a sunny day last week and a walk to the park, I grabbed my camera.

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Because these camelias, make their appearance when everything ir stunning dark, brown, and bare.  Pink is not the common shade in nature, in autumn or middle of winter, which makes them brighter, I think.

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So strong.  So beautiful. So bright and ready to share it with all of us, passers by.

DSC_0192 copy DSC_0190 copy DSC_0193 copy Benches are empty.

DSC_0195 copy DSC_0197 copyBut my guys are ready for playing, and they have all the space they want.

DSC_0196 copy The sun, barely shining, giving the little warmth and golden light.

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Leaves falling, reminding us of a beautiful summer, and now the earth turning away from the sun, giving us the much needed time to rest.  Knowing, there’s another year to come, and so goes the cycle of life, the cycle of the seasons.

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We are really enjoying what we have right now.  I am loving these days.

last few weeks…

The days are going by so quickly.  It seems to happened to me this time of the year.  Maybe it’s the getting ready and all the making that is happening in our home.  There’s crafting, math, reading, Norse Mythology and Vikings, writing, swim meets, baseball practices, cooking, driving and riding to and from practices, breakfasts and lunches, planning, sewing, basketball practices, knitting, cooking, spinning, leaves raking, putting the garden to sleep, sweeping, writing of this blog, playing, and of course, all the cleaning, and laundry to be folded and put away and don’t let me forget the rotting pumpkins in the porch that need to be taken to the compost.

The last few weeks…

… I’ve enjoyed the rain, hearing split splat in the roof and gutters most every day.  I do love the rain and have missed it.  I am taking it all in, and I happily see it come down.

… I was surprised to see him covered in mud for the stealth game he played in his day out in the woods.  I loved it.

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… found new music I am enjoying.  This video, and I like this one too, and have enjoyed listening to this CD I’ve had checked out from the library for so many weeks.

… noticed the sun is low and barely warming up when it comes out, but makes beautiful beautiful days indeed.DSC_0144 copy DSC_0143 copy DSC_0141 copy

… watched this video of Astronaut Scott Kelly and his first walk in space to fix the ISS.

… had planned of having someone special for dinner and all of a sudden, a phone call later, we got three more sitting next to her and us at the table and a puppy sniffing around!  A little more tomato sauce added to the sauce already cooking, and another bag of spaghetti to the pot made enough for all of us.  They were in the neighborhood, haven’t seen them in few months, it was the perfect time to re-connected and catch up with their lives, a birthday singing over the phone to a grandma we care and haven’t seen in a while either.  And they even brought us pumpkin pie and whipped cream because what is it a cold fall evening with dear friends without one?  I love an impromptu dinner party in the middle of the week!

… when everyone in the neighborhood were at work, and all the kids were in school, we were in PJ’s and running around outside barefoot.  Oh… the joys of homeschooling!

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… have enjoyed using Pandora lately.  After my find of Hey Marseilles (and those videos up above), I was suggested I’d also like Blind Pilot.  And yes! Check out this video, I love the energy, the dancing, the smiles.  Might be a good one to get me started in the morning.

… some friends went to France for 3 weeks and we got this beautiful kitchen towel to brighten our days as a present from them, and remind us of that wonderful place, across the ocean, that we keep talking about and that they enjoyed too.

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A little reminder of maybe another trip some day.  It’s a wonderful thing to dream.  And these past few days when thinking of Paris makes my heart ache a little.

… had a special guest over few weekends ago.

… enjoy the golden light coming in with a little warmth.

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… had swim practices and a swim meet.  Spending many hours in the warmth and smell of chlorine.  That I don’t want to talk bad about, because there is one person in our house that loves that smell, that smell of pool.  Maybe I should get her this t-shirt.

Found online on this website.
Found online on this website.

Maybe I should make something like this for her:

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… carved pumpkins.

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… and roasted the seeds. DSC_0027 copy

… knitted. Sewed. Painted. Knitted some more.  Sewed some more.  Holiday fairs are coming up faster than I am ready.

… baked bread. Few times. It makes our kitchen warm and smells good too, and make good presents for friends and coaches.

… loved, love so much when my little guy brings me presents like these from his walk!

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… have enjoyed them on our table with other found autumn loves.

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… ate cake and celebrated turning 45.

DSC_0436 copy DSC_0442 copy DSC_0446 copy DSC_0449 copyChocolate, almond, raspberries-cake.  So good!

… got a new cup and realized that we have another lovely (and dirty) Oregon love we use every day.  My Oregon forest mug, and my heart is in Oregon for sure.

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… on my special day, was treated with breakfast in bed, a surprise morning all together, and showered with thoughtful, beautiful presents.

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My family knows me.  New, cool, purple canning jars.  A new tea and a new mug.  A new, hole-less, super-soft cashmere sweater, a coupon book.  Chocolates delivered by a friend. My mom sent me a new notebook.  I love notebooks and notepads, and pens and paper (… and of course, yarn, and fabric too!) so she always sends me a new one for my birthday (with small squares, I prefer) and this time, a new needle holder.  Perfect!  I’m all set for a long while in everything.

… got wet.  Soaked actually, and loved it.  Gosh I do love the rain.

… enjoyed a late breakfast on my own one day, when I had a whole day to myself.  And feel lucky we have some yummy (new) jams to treat ourselves.

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… the kids with friends played in the rain, in the water, in the moments we had a torrential rain, they went to the park to play in the rain.  In shorts, barefoot, flip flops, and t-shirt. Enjoying the rain coming down, but enjoying the hot chocolate waiting for them when they came back, wet and cold.

… went for walks.

… received a gorgeous autumn bouquet of flowers. and a caring and thoughtful card.  Thank you my dear friends.

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We are having fun and I hope you are too.  Have a beautiful beginning to your week.

under water

Every time my kids have a swim meet, I go all prepared for some picture taking.  My zoom is pretty good, but by no means I can get close ups from where we can sit.  So I try to go closer when they are warming up.  It’s less disruptive, I think.  And I try to stay out of the way of coaches and swimmers.  So I do my best with what I have.

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The pool is quiet when we get there.

DSC_0254 copyThe music starts and the swimmers get in. I head down.

DSC_0258 copyI’m thinking this (photo) is pretty good, I’ll try for another one.

DSC_0261 copy That’s OK.  I guess.

DSC_0262 copy Yup, here’s another one. I’m feeling good. I’m feeling lucky.

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And then I realize, that swimmers are hardly ever out of the water.

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Backstroke is a good photo-taking stroke.  If I can get it focused as soon as she turns and she starts slow.

DSC_0282 copy DSC_0284 copy And it’s only good (for photo-taking) when she goes away from me.

DSC_0286 copy DSC_0287 copy Unless she’s touching the wall… which she does underwater anyways!

DSC_0290 copy And then continues underwater as well, after the turn.

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Freestyle, doesn’t work either.

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I think butterfly and breaststroke are the best strokes for photo taking.

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Well, maybe some times.

pumpkin patch

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On a beautiful sunny, fall day we headed to Sauvies Island with some friends.  It was a no-school day, and we like those, so we can hang out with our friends that go to school.

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Duck racing… who would have thought it was that much fun! DSC_0039 copy DSC_0040 copy

I know… we are growing out of so many games at the pumpkin patch…

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But there’a always ways to have fun, no matter how much our visits have changed since those baby, toddler years.  Still fun. DSC_0051 copy

And even on a week day we got to go on a hay ride to the patch where the pumpkins where growing.  Sometimes farms are not fully “functioning” on week days, but this one it was! and what a treat it was.

I love hay rides.  I remember the first time I went on one, when I was in high school, as an exchange student in  Michigan.  There are no pumpkin farms in Chile, so I enjoyed all the traditions there were from friends and my host family.  Lots of memories.  And of course, all these years of living here now, and the last 13 with these two goofy kids.DSC_0055 copy DSC_0056 copy

And because it is more fun to go with friends, we did.

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Searching for the perfect pumpkin.

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Taking it all in.  The sights. The colors. The cooler weather.  This is my time of the year I love the most.

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Look at the colors!

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And of course.  A corn maze to complete our trip to the farm.

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A day to remember, for sure.