Tuesday, October 4, 2016

{This and That}

Hi friends!  I didn't mean to disappear, but life took over.  Boy, have we had a busy few weeks!  I'm behind on email, blogging, podcasts... but we're right where we need to be to finish up Term 1 at the end of this week, so that's something. :)  Thanks for your patience as I catch up on comments and emails.  And Keeping Company!  The October link-up will be up available later this week.  (In the meantime, check out the September submissions.)


The best part of this past month was our trip to visit Amber's family up in the Sierras -- which you have heard all about if you've follow me over on Instagram.  We had a fabulous time.

everyone except my husband (taking the photo!) and baby justin

I was totally blown away by her authentic commitment to a Charlotte Mason life as I saw how her family learns, plays, and interacts.  They live on a beautiful piece of property in the mountains that was pretty much a boy's paradise.  I wish I had more photos of my sons running around like hooligans with homemade bows and arrows, but they were too busy, well, running and shooting for me to take many.

The girls had their wild moments but also wrote and directed a short play for the parents during our week there.  They wrangled the boys into joining them on stage.

We got to visit some of their favorite nature spots, including an old mining-site-turned-pond, a lush creek just a short walk from their home, and the lake they get to spend time at weekly.

 Amber took my Big Girls out in her kayak and taught them to paddle themselves in.

The kids took turns trying out her son's homemade coracle.

We drew in our nature journals.  We chatted about the upcoming Northern California conference.  (Registration opening in just a few days!)  We shared meals together made by Amber, who is not just a crafter and an intellectual but a wonderful cook!  I admired how her oldest daughter can both hike trails and crochet a lovely snood at the same time.  I smiled over her youngest daughter patiently attempting to chop veggies alongside mama in the kitchen.  We all enjoyed her responsible young gentlemen escorting us home each evening.  It was such a blessed time and I feel thankful to know the Vanderpols!


Since we've been back, we were hit first by a heat wave...

... and then by the Loma Fire, which broke out about ten miles from us.

That's our house at the bottom center, on my way out to our Charlotte Mason study group last week.  It looked much more threatening than it actually was -- we are firmly in town and were never in any danger.  But we definitely suffered from poor air quality!  The fire is still burning, but the temps died down, we got our first sprinkle of fall, and it's almost contained.

Now we're all suffering from head colds while attempting to wrap up our first term in spite of low sleep for Mommy thanks to two miserable baby boys.  But we're chugging along and looking forward to exams next week!


In the midst of all that, we celebrated our three September birthday girls...

bridget turns 5, gianna turns 10, clara turns 4

You know that means I've got birthday books to share, right?  :)  What We're Reading coming up soon!


Speaking of what's to come: I haven't forgotten the rest of my school plans.  Later this week I'll be chatting about my Form I kids, and then (maybe) a big fat scheduling post next week.  Maybe. ;)

Okay, that's all for now.  Have a great night!


  1. I enjoy peaking into your family life and am continually amazed at how you keep it all going so beautifully with all those precious wee ones. So many blessings...

    1. Blessings abound! As I'm sure you know with the beautiful learning you are doing alongside your girls. I loved your recent Morning Basket post! :)

  2. Loved the update, Celeste. No apologies for ANYTHING! :) I can't wait to read your birthday book post! :) I'm so glad you had such a wonderful time with your friends. <3

  3. God bless you Celeste, and thank you for sharing! We are all so grateful for you and the beautiful days you are creating for and with your family. You must be so grateful to God for the grace to do so!!!
    Pax Christi my sister and mentor :) ~Renee

    1. Yes, it is all grace, Renee -- I beg God for it daily and he so mercifully pours it out for me and my family! Thank you for your encouragement and prayers. :)

  4. I'm blushing! I had somehow overlooked this post until just now. We had such a wonderful time, and the kids are still talking about it. I'm so thankful we had the opportunity to do this!