Monday, April 25, 2016

How many miles to Babylon?

How many miles to Babylon?
Threescore miles and ten.
Can I get there by candle-light?
Yes, and back again.
If your heels are nimble and light,
You may get there by candle-light.

I leapt out of my seat, waved the book of nursery rhymes at Jonathan, and shrieked, "Look at this! It's a Babylon candle! I found Babylon candles! It's like in Stardust!"

Jonathan is used to my reading habits. He put down his book that he was reading, accepted the tome of nursery rhymes, and agreed, yes, it was definitely where Neil Gaiman got the idea for Babylon candles. I have tracked down a reference in its native habitat!

 If you don't remember, Stardust is a fantasy film from about ten years ago with Claire Danes and Robert de Niro and a bunch of people. The hero and the star do, indeed, travel by Babylon candle. The movie makes a joke of it -- the star knows what they're called, but as the hero had never heard of them, he refers to them as "bubbling" candles and she corrects him. I hadn't realized they were a thing outside that story.

The wiki page on "How many miles to Babylon" mentions that it used to be a game like sharks and minnows, where the kids stand in two lines, sing the song, and the "shark" tries to catch them when they run back and  forth. I'm thinking we need to start playing this game again.

Because traveling by candle-light is definitely the coolest.

Friday, February 12, 2016

A DIY quiver

It's been a while since I posted any sewing projects, and this is a fun one.

I was having issues with my bows and arrows. The bag I was using was the equivalent of short wide armor, because bows are always longer and more awkward than you expect, and they kept falling out and making a nuisance of themselves. I eventually raided the bag for a car snack bag and stacked the weaponry on top of Kate's kitchen. It was possibly not ideal.

Last week Meg and I picked up a yard of (arrow print!) cotton duck fabric. I already had the wide blue grosgrain ribbon and a selection of giant beads.

The base of the bag is a half-circle, and the body of the the bag is a simple cylinder. I finished the inside seams with more of the blue grosgrain like Hong Kong seams, and added a casing around the upper edge for the drawstring.

The strap is a loop of ribbon. I sewed it vertically the full height of the bag over the seam. One bead is behind the bow, as a kind of slider, and then smaller beads are at the ends of the ribbon to keep them from slipping out.

I feel like I need a Katniss cowl, or possibly Queen Susan's magic horn, OR BOTH, so that I can go dashing through the woods picturesquely shooting things with my newly portable archery supplies. Anyone want to come with me? 

Tuesday, February 02, 2016

We're up to Greece now

Since we talked about the Iliad and the Odyssey today, I was browsing some illustrations for them. I showed Meg a gorgeous one of the one-eyed monster (Cyclops?) that tried to eat Odysseus.

"Why do giants try to eat people?" asked Meg.
I considered. "They ought not to do so. It is evil."
Meg accepted that. "Well, in Heaven if there are giants, they'll be a lot less pesky."

Friday, January 29, 2016

Sick days

I gave her a cup of peppermint tea.

"Mom! You just gave me dyed water!" Meg

Sunday, December 27, 2015


"Mommy, my birthday is in three days! Maybe you should go out tonight and buy me presents. ...Mommy, why are you giggling?" Meg

Friday, October 23, 2015


"It's okay," I told Jonathan. "I line up all your socks in rows for you."

I'm sure he really appreciates that.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Watch out for those supper Pharisees

"What are you making for dinner?" Meg asked me.
"I'm making rellenos and fajitas, but you're something of a Pharisee about rellenos, so you may not get any," I informed her.
"A Pharisee?" Jonathan asked.
I considered. "I think I meant Philistine."
"How much legalism can you fit into a relleno?" he demanded.

Monday, September 07, 2015

Little sisters

Meg: "Kate, you're in the way!"
"Have you finished your soup?" I asked Meg.
"No. And Kate's peering at it!" Meg said.
I turned to Kate. "Are you peering at Meg's soup?"
She grinned. "Yeah!"

Tuesday, September 01, 2015

Kate talks!

Kate's vocabulary is just taking off. I think today is the first time she's been able to say the names of our whole family, and she also keeps coming out with new words. We were looking at pictures on my computer and she named "froggie" and "river." She also saw a lot of "baby."

Her favorite words right now are "yeah," "no" (I love that she can actually answer a yes or no question!), "syoo" for shoe, "me" for her lambie pacifier, "dog," and "juice."

Tuesday, August 04, 2015

Poisonous plants

"Leaves of three, let it be," said Meg. I was so proud of her for knowing that.
"And do you remember what plant that is?" I asked.
"Poison ivy," she said matter-of-factly. "And dragons-bane."

Patricia Wrede is a great storyteller, but she's not doing much for my botany lessons.