Friday, July 24, 2020

Camp Counseling, A Nature Tea, and Knitting

What a busy week! It flew by!

Elijah Dean worked the whole week as a counselor at Warrior Acting Camp. The theme this year is Turks and the Ottomam Empire. It has been blistering hot and the camp is 100% outdoors with 100% wearing of masks all of the time. To say that Elijah comes home exhausted each afternoon is an understatement. He has been has been doubting his decision to be counselor rather then go to work in a big chain retail store where there is air conditioning. However, we really do feel that this job is safer. Our COVID-19 numbers have been climbing rather quickly in the last few weeks. I never got a single photo of him this week. He is camera shy, even in the best of times. This week he has come home so tired and sweaty that he retreats to his room after a quick clean up of himself for pretty much the rest of the evening. I can't say that he is really enjoying this job, but the kids are well behaved and they spend most of their time in the forest. He does enjoy nature. He gets up and goes off to work without complaint, which is a great improvement over last year. It is nice to see maturing no matter how small the steps forward.

Anne made the decision to just concentrate on U.S. Government and History II for the next month. She wants to see if she can get about half of the course work done by then. I am fine with her plan. It is summer, after all, and anything she does puts her ahead this fall. She also decided to keep piano as a hobby and change her piano credit to a Fashion Design credit. She wants to learn how to knit, crochet, and sew much better with the sewing machine. She also is making costumes and dyeing/sewing/repairing pointe shoes. I am perfectly fine with this change, as well.

Dear Husband, Anne and I went on an early morning picnic to the arboretum last weekend. We tried to get the guys to go with us, but it was too early for them. Anne and I are working on collecting  mismatched china for our picnic basket. So far, we have three tea cups and saucers. It is a fun activity when we are thrift store shopping, and nothing beats eating off china in the middle of nature.

The flowers at the arboretum were stunning, and we had so much fun for an hour or two before the heat caught up with us.

Anne, unlike her brother, is not at all camera shy! She is now working on growing her Instagram following in the hopes that she can be a Russian Pointe Ambassador someday soon. So she wants me to take lots of pictures of her dancing. Her favorite shots this week are below.

Anne got lots of school done this week. She completed 15 history lessons and knitting for two hours. She created a small square. She also attended a modern dance class in the park, improv class with the Adult Company and four Zoom classes (modern, contortionist, and two ballet). She also worked at the consignment shop for 17 hours.

Dancing on a ledge. "It's what dancing feels like right now" ~ Anne

Her dance partner didn't fall, she was just mid roll.
My accomplishments were all over the place. I made lots of progress organizing the basement, did a bit of touch up paint, accomplished lots of cleaning and fixed some items. We also got our sweet kitten spayed and completed her adoption! She is official.

What we ate this week ~
  • Piza roll ups with broccoli 
  • Chicken and dumplings
  • Grilled hot dogs with salad
  • Tilapia fish with veggie platter
  • Pub-style beef stew
  • Taco salad (I could serve this three times a week)
  • Mac and cheese with pepper platter
Blessings, Dawn

Saturday, July 18, 2020

Friends, Kittens, and Summer Heat

I keep hearing so many complaints from people around me. They say 2020 is a "dumpster fire", "they are done with all of this" or "the worst year ever".  These are not people who have lost anyone or lost their jobs. They just hate the inconvenience of things being closed or having to wear a mask. They are driving me a bit crazy! Life takes a little sacrifice. Life takes flexibility and we all would be happier if we chose joy. Ugh! I will get off my soapbox. So far we have stayed healthy and the people we know personally who have gotten COVID have survived. So I can honestly say that this has not been the worst year for us. We have had much tougher years. If I am being honest, we have found some real advantages to our time at home together. It has not been isn't perfect. But we are doing pretty good.

Salem the kitten has added so much fun to our days. She sure is a boredom buster. Our other cat, Rosie, is starting to get used to her, too. They now are allowed to play for very short periods of time before Salem is put back behind closed doors. There is an 8 pound weight difference between them and Rosie is a bit high strung, so we are taking their relationship very slowly. It is going very well so far.

Anne had some great opportunities in dance this week. She danced in a factory with the adult company of our dance studio. They each wrote all of their frustrations and fears down on a large sheet of paper and then were wrapped in their sheet of paper. Then each one of them danced their way out of the paper. It was therapeutic and fun for all. They are still dancing with no audience, but it was nice to get together and move. Anne got very dirty while dancing in the factory. She also got to take a contortionist class and four ballet/pointe classes with Kathryn Morgan (Miami Ballet principle dancer) over Zoom. She is really finding her niche on Zoom and the classes are very affordable. They are not as wonderful as being in person, but they are working out fine. She loves talking to ballerinas from all around the world. It is a great experience for her.

Anne also did eight history lessons, a week's worth of Latin and finished her first English paper. 

We bumped into our older daughter, Katie, at the grocery store this week. She is back to work after a long time of quarantine. She hadn't wanted to wear a mask and really resisted working under COVID restrictions. She was also concerned about the house parents of her residential facility, because they are in their fifties and may be at higher risk. Once she finally realized that this was going to be everyone's lifestyle for a long time to come, she agreed to go back to work. Having no cash flow is a good motivator. She is working well at her part-time job.

We had our second socially distant get-together this week. We stayed outside the entire time and wore masks when we were close together. JoJo and Anne ate dinner on separate blankets and then played Yard Yahtzee. The mosquitoes were biting like crazy, so everyone was trying to cover their skin anyway they could. Elijah decided that the mask was driving him too crazy (because of the heat and wearing extra clothes to ward off the mosquitoes), so he took to the roof where he could still play the game and talk with the girls while being socially distant. It was lots of fun and helped with chipping away at quarantine fatigue.

My friend and I are trading baked goods for plants. She is helping me fill my front flower beds with hearty plants from her garden that thrive on neglect (I am not an avid gardener), and I am giving her baked goods. It is a nice arrangement. So far, she has given me a small starter dogwood tree, lots of day lilies, two Hostas, and a chrysanthemum. I haven't killed anything yet!!

My guys are still very busy with their figurine making. They spend hours everyday working on them. Elijah made a tank this week. He will paint it soon.

What's for Dinner

I can't remember what we had last weekend, but I wrote down our weekly meal plan in my brain book.
  • Loaded tater tots with turkey chili
  • Homemade tomato soup with sourdough bread
  • Apple crisp and homemade ice cream...just because
  • Chicken and broccoli over rice
  • Grilled burgers and Southwest salad
Elijah works as a camp counselor for the next two weeks. The camp has reduced hours, masks are required, and it is 100% outside. I hope the morning hours aren't as hot next week as they were this week.

Blessings, Dawn

Saturday, July 11, 2020

We Got a Kitten and Back to School

We got a sweet, tiny kitten on Sunday. After weeks of looking for the right puppy to join our family and having several failed attempts to meet puppies, we decided to reconsider our options. Metaphorically speaking, we believe strongly that when a door won't isn't meant to be opened. I must admit that the loss of Boomer hit our family very hard. In addition, we really want to travel when this pandemic is over and worry about leaving a dog for a few weeks if we are able to travel in the next year. We decided that a second cat would be a more appropriate addition to our family for the next year or so. Anne has been wanting a cat of her very own that could move with her when she grows up. So a new kitten would be hers, but of course the whole family can enjoy her.  Once the decision was made and we decided that Anne wanted a black kitten (black cats have been proven to genetically be the friendliest), we found black kittens everywhere. We went through a rescue agency and are fostering our new little sweetie until she can be spayed (the spay clinic is really backed up). Then her adoption will be finalized. She is about 10 weeks old and about 2.5 pounds. She has the sweetest personality. 
No photo description available.
Image may contain: cat and indoor
The guys continue to build figurines and do Belegarth in their spare time. They even built a shelf and installed it in Tim's room for all the figurines. It is really nice to see them spending so much time building, reading and spending time outside.

Anne decided to start back to school this week. She wants to graduate as soon as possible and there really aren't any major plans for the summer. Even a long weekend vacation is looking unlikely with the new kitten (Salem) and the huge spike in Covid-19 cases. I can't imagine where we could safely go and I am really not a fan of camping. 

Anne's 12th grade credits ~ 
  • Health ~ completed last year
  • U.S. Government and History II  
  • English IV (mostly writing)
  • Latin
  • Sign Language III
  • Piano
  • Dance ~ I have been recording her dance hours which have been in the thousands over the last four years and will turn some of them into credits when she is done.
Image may contain: 2 people

My major goal this week involved painting all of the trim, mirror and cabinet in the men's bathroom. We would like to gut the bathroom someday, but that is many years off. So we decided to start beautifying it for now. There were five different woods in the room between towel bars, the mirror and cabinet. Also, the fixtures were chrome, bronze, and plastic. The plastic tileboard is super outdated and the floor needs replacing. We are slowly going to paint or replace all of the surfaces this year. I am also watching for an interior door from Habitat for Humanity that would match the other interior doors in our home (so I didn't paint that for now). Dear husband changed out the light fixture, vent covers and all of the towel racks. I did most of the painting of the trim, mirror and cabinet. We changed all of the fixtures, pulls and handles to chrome. It certainly isn't perfect, but it looks much better already. I think we will study how to paint the tileboard next. The floor will be last because we need to remove the toilet and take care of some water damage around the tub. When it is all done, it will buy us a few years until we decide if we are moving or staying put.

I am putting my paint brush aside for the next week or so. I am going to concentrate on decluttering the basement and weeding the garden. We are starting to get a huge harvest of green beans. We even have enough to freeze. I am staggering the crops of green beans so they will keep producing all summer.

What we ate for dinner this week ~
  • Ribs, potato salad, and fruit for the 4th of July
  • Taco salad (a favorite around here)
  • Baked ranch chicken with green beans
  • Pot stickers and fried rice
  • Meatball sliders
  • Subway subs
  • Nibbles for movie night ~ Brie, crackers, chips and guacamole, cherries, peppers and cheese cubes.
Blessings, Dawn

Friday, July 3, 2020

A Week at Home

It is Friday and Anne is finishing up her dance intensive with UNCSA. Week two of Anne's dance intensive was a roaring success. She got to dance with some great teachers who have performed on Broadway and beyond. She also met other teen dancers from all over the world. Some were as far away as Denmark and Australia. She made great connections and learned so much. She is sad to see it end but motivated to find other dance classes on Zoom. There are so many wonderful ones to take. We also did a small photo shoot this week. Anne wanted to wear her costume for the Arabian dance that she was supposed to perform earlier this spring. I still hope that she can perform the dance on a stage (probably without an audience), and we can video tape it some day soon. If nothing else, it could be used as an audition video in the future.

During their free time this week, the guys have kept busy working on their Warhammer figurines. These model kits come in many little pieces that need to be glued together and then painted. They are working on two armies for their table top game. They played a few rounds as well.

My main project this week was painting the linen closet. I thought this would be a one day project. HA! It took me two days to paint and fix the shelves and another two days for everything to be truly dry enough to put the linen closet back together. I am very happy with the results. We are making real progress ... slowly but surely. 


What we ate for dinner this week
  • Taco salad
  • Homemade pizza
  • Spaghetti with meat sauce
  • Red beans and rice Cajun style
  • Chicken pot pie
  • Make your own salad with warm artisan bread
  • Take-out (to celebrate Dad's 4 day holiday and support the local economy)
We are staying in for the holiday weekend and starting on our next house project. Like so many others, we plan to watch Hamilton on Disney +, eat great food, have our own fireworks display and do tons of yard work. The Covid-19 numbers are climbing around here, and we would just as soon not contribute to the pandemic by going into any tourist-driven crowds. I hope you all are safe and sound.

Blessings, Dawn