Sixteen years of Treehouse talk

Sixteen years of Treehouse talk

Wednesday, March 31, 2021

From the archives: Or we can keep on...

First posted April 2006 (which makes it fifteen years ago); edited slightly. The Apprentice was fourteen, still homeschooling that spring, but later in the year she started part time at the local high school. Ponytails was eight and a half. Crayons/Lydia was almost five.

 "Mom makes us work too hard." "Not another book!" "School is hard." If my children were talking Barbies, they might echo that unfortunate doll (who had her conversation chip yanked for saying that math is too hard). Yes, the Apprentice and Ponytails do complain about school, lest you think that these Shakespeare-reading progeny do everything excellently without ever needing to be prodded (that's only true of other peoples' children, right?). After all, The Apprentice isn't planning on going to university anyway...she alternates between interests in hairdressing/cosmetics, photography, and computer information systems (maybe she'll figure out a way to do all of them). Why does this stuff matter?

[2021 update: The Apprentice did a hairstyling apprenticeship first, but also studied science/math at university, and now works in computer information systems.]

So I have some alternatives. I could buy a fill-in-the-blanks homeschool curriculum instead of boring them with Thomas More or Winston Churchill. (Jane Austen and Charles Dickens don't get the "boring" face, for some reason.) I could let them follow their own interests completely. I could buy some of those prepared novel studies, comprehension workbooks, language textbooks, and spend a lot more time teaching them to write five-sentence paragraphs. (Squirrelings, that's not meant to be a threat--some homeschoolers spend a lot of time on those things because that's just the way they do school, and it works for them.)

I could send them to public school, so that they could develop the the following characteristics of current university students. (This list comes from the story "Educating the next wave" in a local newspaper. I'm only including some of them.)
* "Doing" is more important than "knowing." In other words, what you know is less important than knowing where to get the answer. "You don't have to master the subject anymore," Sharpe said. [Associate Professor Bob Sharpe of Wilfrid Laurier University, who led a seminar about preparing for the next generation of students.]
* They have zero tolerance for delays. When they send an e-mail to a professor, they want an answer immediately.
* They're consumers rather than producers of knowledge.
* They blur the lines between consumer and creator by sampling information on the Internet and producing new forms of expression. 
(That last one, in particular, intrigues me. It sounds like one of those creative report card comments that really means "He cheated on his term paper.")
Or we can keep on reading writers who are much wiser and better educated than we are, taking what we can from their thoughts, and making our responses to their books a central part of Treehouse homeschooling.

In spite of the grousing, there are those moments when I know that what we're doing is what we're supposed to be doing. Like when Ponytails asked for a James Whitcomb Riley poetry book at a booksale last year, or The Apprentice kindly found me a volume of Tennyson at this year's sale. Or when I found The Apprentice reading her Canadian history book without being reminded, or saw Ponytails poring over a map of Narnia. Or when The Apprentice found a creative way to make her science experiment work even though somebody discarded the plastic pop bottle she was hoarding. (Sorry.) Or when Ponytails was genuinely sad at finishing a biography of Galileo. Or when Crayons read me back part of the Charlotte's Web chapter we'd just finished together.

We'll try to understand that delays happen...there are disappointments...and that not everything's fun (though something can be enjoyable in its own way without being fun). Maybe the Squirrelings will be strange enough to think that knowing something is even more valuable than knowing where to look it up (or where to copy it from the Internet). Maybe when we've read Utopia and How to Read a Book and Whatever Happened to Justice, there won't be so many blurry lines. Maybe they will be subversive enough to think that they can be producers as well as consumers of knowledge.

If they turned out like that, I wouldn't mind at all.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Frugal April Closet

Why call it frugal?

Because most of the clothes and accessories shown here were thrifted, some of them for a dollar apiece. The two scarves shown were, strangely enough, not thrifted, but one of them was a gift. A couple of things came from consignment stores and vintage clothing sellers. One purse was bought new a couple of years ago.

Why do frugal?

It's a budget-friendly way to shop sustainably. Plus you can find things nobody else has!

I've used this poster before as wardrobe inspiration. This time it came up kind of after the fact, but there's definitely some "Sonatina Per Due" going on here again.

It might be this scarf:

Or this one:

Or this blouse from the thrift store's dollar rack:

Or this taupe top, also a dollar...

Read the rest of the page here

Wednesday, March 10, 2021

An Overly Hodgepodgeish Wednesday

 From this Side of the Pond

1. March 9th is National Get Over It Day...what's something you need to 'just get over already'? 

Do you want a serious answer, or not so much? I mean, there are things that are very difficult to get over, and rightfully so.

But on the less serious side...I've never been happy about the way they messed with Canadian Smarties twelve years ago, and made them all healthier colours and not so shiny. Some things should have stayed the same forever.

2. Something you're currently 'over the moon' about? 

Nothing huge. Small victories, small gratitudes. Warmer weather.

3. What's something you're 'chewing over' these days? (meaning-thinking over carefully)

Plutarch's Life of Pyrrhus.

4. The last thing you cooked or ate that was overdone? 

Well, when I make chocolate microwave cake in a mug (which we share between the two of us), I usually manage to give it a few seconds too long, so I should really remember that or write it down somewhere ("underdone is okay"). But Mr. Fixit says he likes the edges a little hard.

5. In celebration of hitting volume 411 in the weekly Hodgepodge, give us the 411 on something happening in your life in the next 30 days. 

Right now it seems wiser not to plan more than a few days ahead. Things change too quickly.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

We were at an antique market on the weekend and found a framed print we both liked...and it was on sale, too, so we brought it home and hung it in our dining area. This is Falls, Montreal River, painted by J.E.H. MacDonald in 1920.

Linked from The Wednesday Hodgepodge at From This Side of the Pond.

Wednesday, March 03, 2021

Let's Think Spring (Clothes)

 When I started shopping my closet for spring, I came up with clothes in navy, off-white, grey, denim blue, pink, green. Plus a pair of old-faithful I-think-they're-khaki pants.

All fine, but a lot the same. Even this new-to-me pullover, nice as it is, seemed a bit dark.
Then something caught my eye on a blog post about "business casual" clothes, although I don't need business casual, just really casual.  First of all, a pink shirt...I had a blouse like that a couple of years ago, downsized it around the time we moved, but miss it now...okay, I could probably find another similar one. (Haven't found one yet, but I'm looking.) But the use of light yellow...I'm a chronic yellow-avoider, with traumatic memories of 1970's warm yellows and golds, but I liked the way that the yellow in these photos broke up the dark blues, greys, wines. It reminded me of the light colours in the foreground of Houstoun's painting. I decided that I could use a little yellow in my life, or at least in my closet.

Wednesday Hodgepodge: On the March

From this Side of the Pond

1. Is March coming in like a lion where you live? Aslan, Simba, Elsa, The Cowardly Lion...your favorite 'famous' lion? 

Yes, so far we've had strong winds and we still have lots of snow. Not unusual, but tiresome.

2. In what way do you 'march to the beat of your own drum'? 

Well...that could take awhile. 

I have never, ever had a gym membership, and don't intend to get one.

I drink plain coffee without all that extra coffee shop stuff.

And I still have a blog.

3. What item that you don't have already, would you most like to own? Any chance of that happening soon?

A new couch. The one we have was in the basement at our old house, then we moved it upstairs to the living room, then  to the apartment four years ago, then  to the townhouse almost two years ago. It has a spring that would be popping out of its back if it weren't against the wall. Last winter we were starting to browse local furniture stores for possible replacements, but that got put on hold; and right now we have other financial obligations. But maybe later this year.

4. March is National Flour Month...are you a baker? Cookies-cakes-or pies...your favorite sweet treat to bake? What's the last non-sweet thing you made that called for flour?

When the girls were young, I used to bake all the time. Now, not so much.

Last non-sweet thing: deep-dish pizza dough. 

5. There are 31 days in the month of March...where were you and what were you doing when you were 31? If you haven't hit that milestone yet, then tell us where you were and what you were doing 31 months ago? (if math is not your thing, that would be August 3, 2018)

The year I was 31 was almost a quarter-century ago. I was busy  homeschooling a kindergartner, having a baby, and moving to a new neighbourhood. 

August 3, 2018? Consignment-store shopping. That store was around for years, but it never re-opened after the first lockdown here last year. Much missed.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Do you prefer paper notebooks, journals, scrapbooks, or some electronic version? My life seems to have a mixture of both. I will send people birthday e-cards because I know then they don't have to deal with more paper; but a friend of mine sent me a very springy-looking paper card today, and it was delightful. Paperless isn't always the way to go.

Linked from The Wednesday Hodgepodge at From This Side of the Pond.

Wednesday, February 17, 2021

Wednesday Hodgepodge: Penny Post

From this Side of the Pond
1. This week's Hodgepodge lands on Ash Wednesday which signals the beginning of Lent. Do you mark this season in some way? If so tell us more. Did you grow up 'celebrating' Lent? Is attending church part of your weekly routine? Are churches open for in-person worship where you live? 

Lent, currently, yes. Church, currently, no.

2. When is the last time you sat beside a 'real' fire? Do you have a fireplace in your home? Wood or gas logs? Favorite thing cooked over a fire? 

Don't have one, and can't recall the last time. Can candles and oil lamps substitute?
3. Something that's currently got you fired up? 

Getting close to finishing the book I've been working on. So I can earn an honest penny.
4. February 17th also happens to be National Cabbage Day. Who knew? Do you like cabbage? Is cabbage on your menu Wednesday? Of the following cabbage dishes which is your favorite-coleslaw (mayo or vinegar?), sauerkraut, cabbage rolls, cabbage soup, kielbasa and cabbage, grilled cabbage, bubble and squeak, kimchi, or haluski?

It would be hard to be part of this squirrel family without saying sauerkraut. We like the made-in-store cabbage rolls from the European butcher/grocery, but we haven't bought any or even been to that store for weeks. Shopping lately is complicated.

5. Do you hang on to pennies? What do you do with them? Last thing you purchased for $1.00? Last thing you purchased for $5.00? 

The last Canadian pennies were distributed in February 2013, and the stores don't take them anymore, so they're pretty much gone from our lives.  I don't know how Canadian schoolchildren are supposed to learn place value without pennies, much less sing Canada in my Pocket.

Things I bought for a dollar? Besides grocery items? That would be several of the things I thrifted before Christmas,  after which the thrift shops here were shuttered along with most other stores and services. 

 6. Insert your own random thought here.

On Valentine's Day, my husband discovered a bag of Christmas cookies hidden at the back of the freezer.

Wednesday, February 10, 2021

Wednesday Hodgepodge: Short-answers edition

I'm twenty thousand leagues under the writing sea right now, so this week's entry in the Hodgepodge is going to be brief.

Fro  1. Something little you are loving right now?</p><p>2. Red roses or pink peonies? Red wine or pink lemonade? Red lipstick or pink polish? A cotton candy colored sky or a fiery red sunset? A book-movie-or song you love with pink or rd in it's title? </p><p>3. What's something you currently have your heart set on doing-going-seeing-experiencing? </p><p>4. Who would you most love a heart to heart with right now? Is that possible? </p><p>5. Write and acrostic for the word L-O-V-E.</p><p>6. Insert your own random thought here. </p><p style=

1. Something little you are loving right now? 

Our current hamster. His name is Alcibiades.

2. Red roses or pink peonies? Red wine or pink lemonade? Red lipstick or pink polish? A cotton candy colored sky or a fiery red sunset? A book-movie-song you love with the word red or pink in its title? 

Roses, lemonade. Pink lipstick. Sky pictures, I like them all.

3. What's something you currently have your heart set on doing-going-seeing-or experiencing?

Story here.

4. Who would you most like to have a heart to heart with right now? Is that possible? 

Only virtually.

5. Write an acrostic for the word L-O-V-E. 




Easy Takeout Burgers: Which would you rather have for Valentine's Day dinner, honey?

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

That doesn't involve complaining about whatever?

Well, no legislator or bureaucrat can stop the sap rising in the maple trees. Spring will be here soon.

Linked from The Wednesday Hodgepodge at From This Side of the Pond.

Thursday, February 04, 2021

Ten Years Ago: A Homeschooling Day

 First posted February 2011. Ponytails was in Grade 8; Crayons (Lydia) was in Grade 4.

9:00 a.m.: New hymn (see video), Tennyson's poems, and several pages from Marva Collins' Way, which we are reading parts of both for Black History Month and for some character building/academic inspiration.

9:20 a.m.: Crayons do math and Bible Geography with Mom. Ponytails work on independent math and other work.

9:50 a.m.: French: We are supposed to be reading from Les Insectes, but the book has temporarily disappeared so we may have to do something else. Also: French Bible copywork.

10:10 a.m.: Crayons take a break, Ponytails work with Mom.

10:30 a.m.: Ponytails take a break, Crayons do English with Mom. Review the parts of speech, and read two pages about how to make the most of watching educational "T.V. specials." Which shows how old that book is.

10:50 a.m.: "Educational T.V. Special." To be decided...we were going to watch a Christian dinosaur video that Mama Squirrel picked up from a freebie box, but after checking it out online it appears that there were issues with this movie, so we will choose something else.

Lunchtime: Ponytails work with Dad.

1 p.m.: Crayons do geometry (from Math Mammoth Grade 4) and finish a chapter from George Washington's World. Ponytails finish independent work and do any needed work with Mom.

2 p.m.: Group reading from Bulfinch's Age of Fable. Homemaking lesson: read several pages from the Food chapter in Hidden Art of Homemaking, and do some baking together.

3 p.m.: Teatime.

Wednesday, February 03, 2021

Wednesday Hodgepodge: Over and Over

1. Feb 2nd is Groundhog Day in the US of A. Tell us about one day you wouldn't mind living over again, and why you chose that day. 

The temptation is to choose a "perfect day," one where nothing went wrong, a day when the weather was great and nothing bad happened in the whole world. If you think about the premise of the movie, though, the point was that the things that happened to Bill Murray...over and over and over...were more like challenges to overcome. Maybe the day chosen to live over again should be one where you made a choice you've regretted ever since. Maybe just a small one, as small as not phoning someone; or signing up for the easier math instead of risking a university-prep course; or not trying hot peppers on pizza. Because you never know, it might have been your favourite.

But I think I'd go a different direction, if I had a choice. Recently I was thinking about a rainy weekend at a rented cottage, when I was about four, sitting at an oil-cloth-covered table with my grandmother. I had brought along a set of paper dolls, not the teenage fashion-model type, but (as I recall) sort of a large baby doll, along with a smaller "mini-me" version. The paper doll book must have provided some clothes, but Grandma decided to extend the possibilities by cutting outfits for them out of colourful magazine pages, first for the big doll, then matching outfits for the little one. I kept those dolls and clothes for years afterwards, out of memory for the time that we spent together making them. If I could, I'd go back and spend another few hours making paper-doll clothes with Grandma while the rain fell outside.

 2. Something you know beyond a 'shadow of a doubt'? 

That there is no shadow of turning with Thee.

3. Give us an example of history repeating itself in some way, in your own life or the lives of your children.

Our own Groundhog's Day movie, so to speak?

Well, we've had offspring get part-time jobs at the same places my husband worked when he was younger; and right now one of them lives about a block from the student house where I lived when I first moved here. There are probably other things, but I can't think of them right now.

4. Snowed under, snow job, not a snowball's chance, snowbird, on thin ice, snug as a bug in a rug, tip of the iceberg, snowball effect, run hot and cold....choose a wintry idiom and tell us how it best applies to your life right now. 

Laura Ingalls Wilder, The Long Winter. Except we have food.

5. Random thoughts:

The giant-mart store here has already replaced its don't-fall-on-the-snow-salt and shovels with spring barbecue and garden items.

This is Ontario, people. We get snow here in February. March. Usually April. Sometimes even May.

Think about it.

Thursday, January 28, 2021

Down to the Last Dollar (Last Come Unthrifting post for now)

In The Conscious Closet, Elizabeth L. Cline makes this statement: "The less we pay for something, the less we value it and the less likely we are to take care of it! If you're buying something on sale or low-priced, take a good look at it and ask yourself if you can find a way to value and care for this item anyway."

If that last sentence seems a little confusing (if you're still in the act of buying something, why would you be wondering already how you can care more about it?), Cline clarifies by giving the example of a clothing item she bought inexpensively that soon needed a repair. She might have junked it, since it didn't cost her much to start with, but she decided to mend it anyway, and then found she really liked it.

How useful or true is that idea? While I have, not infrequently, re-donated thrifted items after a very short ownership (clothes didn't fit, hated the book after one chapter, or realized I already had a copy), I do generally try to take as good care of inexpensive/thrifted clothes as I do of more expensive ones. Like washing them on Gentle and line-drying them, instead of ruining them in the dryer.

I don't think that really solves the problem of whether or not you should buy inexpensively-made new things (although that's a lot of what Cline's book is about); but it is a good way to perhaps look differently at those you already have, wherever they came from, or however much or little they cost.

Meet my extremely expensive designer infinity scarf.

It came from an exclusive boutique called Chez Dollarama.
What made me buy it in the first place? I loved the colour, and I don't currently have anything else in that openwork knit/crochet style. Would I have paid more money for it at a better store? Would I treasure it more if it came from a free-trade store? Or if I had found it at a thrift store, maybe with the store tags still on it, and it turned out to have been quite expensive?

Would I find it irritating to get more compliments on a cheap scarf than on a new one that I'd saved up for?

Does it make any difference that some of my thrifted clothes came from the full-price aisles, and some were  getting their last chance in the dollar corner? How about when something in the dollar corner turns out to have been misplaced there (you can tell by the tags), and it's really a whole five or six or ten dollars? When prices are already so low, and the money's going to a good cause, it seems ridiculous to care one way or the other; but I have seen thrifters make a fuss over items that they thought were priced a dollar or two too high.

Why did I find it upsetting to have a too-juicy takeout panzerotti leak all over my dryclean-only skirt on the drive home, even though the skirt was thrifted and I did manage to spot-clean it? Would I have cared that much if it hadn't had the fancy label inside it? (Note to self: bring a plastic bag along next trip. Or remember to wear jeans.)

Why am I still hanging on to the sequined Oleg Cassini top that didn't sell on Kijiji* and that's about as heavy to wear as a pair of gravity boots, even though I paid only three dollars for it? Maybe because I only paid three dollars for it.

These are all good questions, and I'm not sure of all the answers. I think one of them is found, though, in something else Elizabeth Cline wrote: "Clothes are not garbage." Yes, stuff is just stuff, and clothes are just clothes, and if a mountain of clothes (or a pile of toys, or a huge box of books) is weighing you down, yes, you should probably get rid of them without having to give each piece a goodbye hug. There are times we are just done with things. But on the preserving, caring end...sometimes it's worth pretending (to yourself, of course) that the dollar-store scarf came from an exclusive store, and the like-a-thousand-others chair is a mid-century treasure, and the thrifted candle bowl is a family heirloom, if it creates a larger sense of gratitude for the things we have been privileged to find in our hands.

Something to think about, anyway.

*I don't usually resell clothes (or attempt to), but I thought this disco top might have some resale value. Besides, it was close to Hallowe'en.

Deep-Dish Contentment (Come Unthrifting Again)


The January sunshine is cold but brilliant. Through our upstairs window I see what looks like dancing glitter over the porch roof. Is it snowing, or just blowing? You have to look hard, and it only works when the sun is coming down full blast.

During the days I work on writing projects, while Mr. Fixit works on his restorations
Or read books. I just finished Reading Buechner on the Kindle app. I'm reading my Christmas-gift-card copy of You Are What You Love, and re-reading last year's Christmas-gift-card copy of The Conscious Closet. I'm also working on a scrounged-last-year copy of Unspeakable: Facing Up to the Challenge of Evil, by Os Guinness. 

I look at my Lismer print over the computer desk.
I do the laundry. Mr. Fixit vacuums the floors.

In the evenings we listen to vintage music through a vintage radio.
We set the table, light candles...
and eat homemade deep-dish pizza.
Or honey garlic chicken. Or leftovers.

There is lots to chafe over, right now. But there are good things to focus on.

Friday, January 22, 2021

A Little Sauce Goes a Long Way (Come Unthrifting Again)


On the Vivienne Files website, there's been a theme over the past few months about planning smaller, shorter-term wardrobes. This was inspired by an idea in the book The Chic Closet by Fiona Ferris, but I think it's also symbolic of the past year, and particularly the current state of things: it just seems hard, sometimes, to visualize what you might be doing three or six months from now. A month at a time seems to be the limit of our attention spans, and it meets our craving for a bit of variety. That doesn't mean buying all different clothes; it might just mean re-organizing things better, or featuring clothes you haven't worn for awhile.

And right now, that works for me too. I did a page with a  blue and green January wardrobe, which could have been enough clothes-thinking for the whole rest of the winter; but this month I saw a new Vivienne Files story with lots of grey and pink, and that seemed fun for Valentine's Day, so I did my own version.

It reminds me a bit of Edith Schaeffer's advice that we need both treasured items in our homes (the things we look at and identify with our place and our family, like the Ingalls family's china shepherdess), and that we also need to be positive, creative, and even whimsical with whatever else we have. Over the past year, I've made a point of putting something out to be a focus on the dinner table, like candles or a pottery jug or a special ornament...or all three...but not the same things in the same combination every night. We really only have a few different table runners and cloths; our place mats and napkins, especially, are used over and over again, because we only have a couple of sets. But with different decorations added to the table, different combinations of candles, and maybe some paper napkins with a seasonal theme, it can still look cheerful and a bit more varied. Kind of like having mostly grey clothes with a couple of pink and purple sweaters and some pretty scarves.

In the council of the Achaeans, King Antiochus’ ambassadors being come thither, to move them to break their league with the Romans, and to make alliance with the king their master, they made a marvellous large discourse of the great multitude of soldiers that were in their master’s army, and did number them by many diverse names. 

Whereunto Titus answered, and told how a friend of his having bidden him one night to supper, and having served so many dishes to his board, as he was angry with him for bestowing so great cost upon him, wondering how he could so suddenly get so much store of meat, and of so diverse kinds.  

“My friend said to me again, that all was but pork dressed so many ways, and with so sundry sauces. And even so (quoth Titus), my Lords of Achaea , esteem not King Antiochus’ army the more, to hear of so many men of arms, numbered with their lances, and of such a number of footmen with their pikes: for they are all but Syrians, diversely armed, only with ill-favoured little weapons.” (Plutarch, Life of Titus Flamininus)

Tuesday, January 19, 2021

Let's Play Rummage Sale (Come Unthrifting)

This is an approximation of what I might bring home from a good old fill-the-bag rummage sale. I haven't even been to anything like that long?...but you know the sort I mean. You pay a flat fee, grab anything that looks good, sort it out later.

The first thing, obviously, is to spread it out and see what you've got.

Maybe it was because I was sort of cheating by already using our own stuff, or because we don't have scads of miscellaneous unidentifiable things here (we've moved twice in the past four years); but the sorting and the putting away actually didn't take too long.

Marie Kondo says to start decluttering with clothes, so we'll start there. (Apologies that the colours are a bit gloomy, but that's because it's a snowy January  morning and the light's bad.)

One blue silk blouse, one grey-blue silk-cashmere wrap sweater, both thrifted last year; one magenta cardigan that I wore a lot last summer, one pink t-shirt also from last summer. The t-shirt and the cardigan are good "finds," because I was wanting to add more pink into the closet. The blouse and the sweater are indicators of two things: one, that I'm a sucker for lovely fabrics, and two, that I was not able to try things on in 2020, and that even silk and cashmere can't make up for tight fits and strange cuts. They did not cost me enough to cause excessive pain when I put them into a donate-when-the-stores-open-again bag.
Next category: books. Three faith-based books and two about playing backgammon. We have a good backgammon set, but the way we play it is about as exciting as Parcheesi, so I remember picking those books up at different times to see if there was something we were doing wrong. Two of the other books can go by my bed (a handy place to remind myself of things I want to read). The Prayer and Temperament book was pretty quirky, but I think I'm done with it, so it can go in the donate bag.
Metal bookends, from all the books we had in our old house. Right now they're just a reminder that I'm stuffing the bookcases here too tightly instead of leaving room to even need a bookend. If I knew somebody who desperately needed bookends, I'd pass them on; but since they are the sort of thing you wish you had when you don't, I'm going to keep them even if they're not currently in use.
And  magazines, from a year ago. Probably the best kind to read right now. They can go on the coffee table.
Four CDs, ditto: they can sit beside the CD player as a reminder to put them in.
One lined notebook with only a few pages torn out (I was using that sort of notebook for my online classes). Some letter-writing paper. Two more little notebooks, one with a mirror that I have used as a decoration in the bathroom. The lined notebook can go with the office supplies; the stationery and the flowered notebook can go in the basket where I keep those things; and the mirrored notebook...not sure, but maybe in my purse, because who doesn't need a mirror sometimes?

I noticed another rather obvious indicator about the past year: travel-type items that are sitting unused. The clear pouches you have to use for toiletries at airports; zipper pouches to hold tights or pens or snacks; and so on. Well, they're there when I need them.

 I sorted out the personal-care stuff from the travel-storage things, and used a box and a basket to corral them in the bathroom.  Travel bottles and zipper pouches went in a drawer.

I had used these flower ornaments (old VBS crafts) and the bottle (supposed to hold things like vinegar) in the bathroom before, but I put them back in a more streamlined way, just to freshen things up.

Some miscellaneous things in the pile: a heating pad that we used to use to make yogurt. I remember writing awhile back (maybe a year ago?) that yogurt-making had been curtailed because we never had powdered milk around anymore. I did buy a bit of powdered milk awhile ago, so I might experiment and see if I can still yog.

Two round cake pans and a springform pan. Not things we use a lot, especially when it's just the two of us and we're not making cheesecakes or whatever. Mr. Fixit has previously expressed the heart's desire of making deep dish pizza, though (or at least eating it), so I think I'm going to hang on to the pans and try to find a workable recipe. Maybe we'll have a pizza and backgammon Valentine's party.

A bit of gift-wrapping ribbon and bows. On the left: garbage. On the right: store with the gift-wrapping supplies. See, I told you that was easy.

Small gift bags, ditto.
What's left from the pile of stuff? Only a couple of things, and I'll talk about them tomorrow, along with a couple of less random un-thrifts.

Notes to Self

Use the face scrubbie brush my daughter gave me.

Save out a bit of yogurt and make sure we have enough milk to try making homemade yogurt again.

Read some Os Guinness and Richard Foster.

Find out if we're playing backgammon wrong, or if it's supposed to be that boring.

Look for pizza-in-the-pan recipes. Buy pepperoni. Also buy food colouring and butter.

Eat pizza while listening to Quartetto Gelato and eating beautiful Valentine cookies from last February's Better Homes and Gardens. While wearing a pink t-shirt and magenta cardigan.