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Preview: Take Time to Smell the Coffee

Education of a Pondering Mom: Take Time to Smell the Coffee

The Annals of the extremely diverse, artistic, literary, and musical lifestyle of a Charlotte Mason education-loving family. Our philosophy, even though our children are all grown now, is to allow for time and space in each day to be pre

Updated: 2017-11-16T09:44:14.251-06:00


Split Paperback Mends


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This post is dedicated to Karen Glass, author of Consider This and Mind to Mind. She, along with several other CM/AO mommas, wanted to know how to repair their Charlotte Mason Philosophy of Education six volumes so she (they) could toss the rubber bands that are holding them together now. Karen, if you need more guidance, I can talk you through it at the AO Conference next month!

The products in this video are Ph neutral archival adhesive called PVA. It costs less than $12 for an 8 oz. bottle. I used this to strengthen the mended split on the inside. It is the same product I used in one or two of the previous posts.

I noticed too late that my camera was zoomed in so that you aren't able to see what I am talking about at first, but you are able to see enough as I continue talking and showing you various things as I work the repairs.

I hope you have found these helpful!

Remember, it is up to you to decide what books you think are worth spending a little extra money on to repair them archivally. I'm not trying to be a book snob, and am trying to straddle the line realistically. I understand how each of us needs to choose our resources carefully, having homeschooled all four of our children all the way through on one income during those years. I hope these tips have helped you see how economical this approach can be, especially over the long-haul.

Ciao for now!


Torn Cover Mends on Paperbacks


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In previous posts, in case you didn't see them, I list that one reason to give extra care to a paperback book is if it is sentimental. Many paperbacks aren't and can easily be replaced cheaply from thrift stores and used bookstores. Another reason to restore and repair what you have is because you have notes written in the margins (I love reading other people's marginalia :-) ). A third reason is if you have an author-signed paperback or two in your collection, and you want to pass it down to family members to enjoy for years. These are three main reasons to opt for archivally safe products for restoring and conserving favorites in your collection to pass down to your children and grandchildren.
You could argue that the signed book shouldn't be touched at all. True to a point, but books are for reading and enjoying, so I will give it my best archival repair with a minimum of interference in order to preserve it for my family.

The first step I demonstrate will work well on page mends, as well.

The mending tissue can be purchased here. You can probably hear the frustration in my voice at the difficulty of figuring out how to work with this tissue for the first time. This is buyer beware number one, but really, the problem was quickly resolved, and all is well. Another buyer beware is that the description in the title says this box contains 1/2" x 600" but when I received it, it was only 50" long. It is still cheaper to buy it through amazon than through

The product I use for adhering the half-torn-off cover to the text, gummed linen book repair tape, is found here. In the video, I said it was about five dollars. I was off by a buck, as it is $3.94 with free shipping through amazon prime.

I am very pleased with how both work and with how the job turned out afterwards!

Have fun and ciao for now!


Loose Pages, Multiple Options


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In this video, I show you a couple of ways to attach loose pages. I mention another option or two, one of which, I will show you in another video (using gummed book tape by lineco).

In this episode, I work with my college copy of Lion, Witch, and the Wardrobe, which all four of our kids enjoyed, so it has split and has a couple of pages that have come out. I will demonstrate repairing the split book repair in another episode.


Ciao for now,


Charlotte Mason Home Education Cover Reattachment: Just one of several options


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Here is the video that likely most of my CM mom friends are going to enjoy. This is one of several ways to safely, archivally reattach covers to your paperback Charlotte Mason (or other) books without resorting to elmer's glue or awful tape.

Hope this helps, and Ciao for now!


Protective Covers for Vintage Books


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Here is the link for your options for Brodart Mylar fold-on, archival book covers.

There are videos on YouTube uploaded by Brodart. I don't recommend everything they have in their instruction videos from an aesthetic and archival perspective for my personal library, but I do like the instructions on cutting mylar rolls, using their mylar pre-sized covers (both paper-lined and not), and how to fold them and apply them.

Let me know if you have any questions in the comments here!



Here is an example of a mylar, folded cover that I have on one of my vintage books that a friend gave to me years ago.

Introduction to simple paperback book repairs


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This is my first simple book repair video, and I apologize for its graininess. I love natural light, but my older camera doesn't have auto zoom. Having said that, this is also one of my first efforts at recording lessons. I've done one or two for my Spanish students who didn't make it to class because of illness or debate trips, so please bear with me as I work at getting better at working with the technology!

As a postscript to the video, I have been a Charlotte Mason mom for decades. I've been an AO mom since even before it first officially began. Some of the old timer-CM moms conversed and shared ideas and did studies together through e-groups, which later became yahoogroups. Then, an experimental group of the CM moms jumped in to see if CM in a box idea would work, so Leslie Laurio, Donna-Jean, Lynn, and many of the other current Advisory Board ladies started putting things together and sharing with us on that old list. It was an exciting time! Anyway, that is why I say I have been an AO mom for decades ;-). I joined the internet in about 1996 or 97, and the CM e-mail group started quickly. If I ever "KonMari" my attic, I will find a filebox full of categorized e-mails from those early years and share it with you all (via photos). Just call me a "historian" instead of a packrat. Hahaha!

Ciao for now! I'll post another video soon. I am still waiting for some Cambric tape to be delivered to the house, and it should arrive any minute.



p.s. At the end, when I am talking about archival details, I mention that you want pvc free clear covers, but then I confuse the product by not naming the proper product! I cover that (ha, pun intended) in another video. Those clear coverings are made of mylar! More information and links to resources in the next video.

Another fabulous Spanish Class Today


Today's lesson had to do with where things are located :-)

I started out by saying my prepared sentences aloud in a conversational manner, then I directed the students' attention not only to the items about which I was speaking, but also to the notecards with the new vocabulary words for the week. :-)

I think the students loved it!


Spanish Bible verse copywork


Today I am looking at last week's homework assignment for my Spanish I high school class.
I think I will assign this for studied dictation next!

It's really nice to have a full class filled with Charlotte Mason students only.

I still follow the basic scope and sequence that a typical high school follows, because I want these students to be prepared for CLEP testing to receive college credit for their high school endeavors.


I adjust those lessons to a very CM approach, as the students gain more words and phrases each week.

It is so very refreshing to have the freedom to give "assignments" like this.

How are YOU doing in your foreign language classes?

Until next time,

¡Feliz Año Nuevo!


This is one of my favorite times of year in Spanish Class, because we have learned enough of the language to begin reading mini-novels. This was the book my class chose this year:


I love this, because the students realize how much of the reading and of the story that they can understand. We all read it aloud together, taking turns, And my goal is to get the students very comfortable with narrating back to me. I didn't have them do narrations today, just asked them questions in Spanish about the basic facts in the set-up of the plot and the descriptions of the characters. I plan to have them narrate in the next session or two, as they become more comfortable with discussing the story together in Spanish. :-)

Students tend to take a huge leap through this addition into the curriculum, and it is such a joy to observe and participate with the kids in this process! I am proud of these kids!

Take time to enjoy your students,


Working on Recitation for an end-of-term program for parents


I wanted to share a few photos and brief descriptions of one of my classes in Poetry Recitation for an end of year program Rehearsal Performance dayFor this performance, from a later term, the class chose "The Retired Cat" byWilliam CowperWe staged a bit of a skit for the recitation of this one. Take time to memorize some poetry! It will stay with you - very likely sink down deep into your soul - for a very long time.Javamom[...]

An Iliad - Retelling of the Trojan War


So proud all over again tonight. Our daughter's husband was just selected Omaha's best actor for his role in AN ILIAD!!! Way to go Daniel!

We saw it last Thanksgiving, and it was both wonderful and overwhelming. He played the role perfectly. It is a dark and heavy, given the subject. It is a two-person play...a world-weary poet and his upright-bass-playing muse. Fifty-three pages of lines!

It is well worth seeing, if you ever get the chance - especially if Daniel acts! Emoticón smile

This is not Daniel's career (anymore). He is a techie by day. This is his third time to win this award, though, and I think that makes his award even more special, because he is not involved in theater as much as he used to be.

Those of you who know me or have followed this blog at all know how important Hubs and I think a Liberal Arts education and lifelong learning are. I am glad our grown children are still getting to be involved with the Arts. Makes this momma proud.

Play Review: An acting tour de force in retelling of Trojan War

An Iliad


Until next time,


Putting on Shakespeare Plays ~ CM Education


These photos are a couple of years or more old, but...I want to affirm that both younger and older students can handle reading and performing Shakespeare. They just need to be given the permission of plenty of time to read it (in a class setting is more fun!) and narrate it over a term or two! Here are just a few examples from rehearsals for various Shakespeare plays in our CM co-op! I wanted to put these in one post, for easier reference.Our Narrators ~ "All the world's a stage!"Orlando (my son) and OliverCelia and Rosalind aka GanymedeOrlando and Oliver in "As You Like It"Orlando (my son :-) and his love letter from Rosalind~ HAMLET ~Hamlet and LaertesVery intense moment between Hamlet and Laertes (and excellent acting by our cast)The younger students are rehearsing for "The Tempest"and they are doing a knock-out jobDo not be afraid to give Shakespeare a try with a few friends! Our group (the youngers) even performed for us in the backyard of one of our family's homes for an end-of-year picnic.Take time to try some Shakespeare!Javamom[...]

One of my favorite quotes ~


 I have been retired* from (official) homeschooling for over two years, but I am sharing one of my
favorite quotes because THIS is one of the main points of lifelong learning. I always keep it posted here at the cottage.

Take time to hear or see something beautiful


* though I still tutor and have been implored to continue teaching Spanish just a bit longer

Empty-nest Mom


Hubs and I knew this moment was coming. We were even a bit excited for it. Sure we miss the grown kids, but we are so proud of their motivation and work ethic.

The nest began emptying six years ago and the fourth one flew out one month ago. 'What are we doing with our time and space now?' you might be thinking. Honestly, we have spread out. I got one room and made it into a lovely guest room...but I put my off-season clothes in the closet. No more traipsing to and from the attic for seasonal clothes changes! Hubs took over the middle bedroom and is in the process of making it into his office. He also moved his things to the little closet in that room, and irons his clothes for school in there. He eventually wants to build a murphy bed to put along one wall, but for now, we are content and making due.

We are going through multiple changes at the moment, so we aren't rushing about frantically. Instead, we are pacing ourselves. So many thoughts and ideas have been swirling around in our heads that we want to give them time to percolate and settle before acting on them. We have time, really, we do. I know we are not guaranteed tomorrow, but we are not rushing things. It is just not worth it.

We lost my father-in-law last month after his two-decade-survival of prostate cancer. He was so thrilled to outlive the doctors predictions by more than 15 years. He is proud that he made it to his 80th birthday celebration back in February. Over 200 friends and family celebrated with him. It was glorious.

As I have pondered the direction for this tenth year of my blog, mothering and working as an empty-nest mom are the things that are on my heart and fill my days, now. These are the things I will share in the future. I plan to continue sharing about my hobbies and loves, but I may post on meatier concerns from time to time.
For example, what happened to the Titus 2 model of older women mentoring younger women? It exists, but more often than not, we might witness younger moms in leadership rolls in churches. This is not evil, just backwards. I was one of those young mothering and mentoring moms over ten years ago, and I burned out...or gave up for various reasons. I am not sure that the church model as it exists is appropriate. I think it sets us up to fail before our time. Then when our actual, appropriate mentoring time comes, we are done and want nothing to do with the old model that burned us.

I hope to flesh out some of these thoughts and would love for my readers to come along and give input! I apologize for the dry spell this year. Again, most of it is due to Poppy's illness progressing at the end of last year, and being busy getting the last one ready to leave the nest.

Sending Happy May Day wishes out to you all! Have a wonderful Spring!


Jupiter and her Moons tonight ~ So beautiful!


Tonight, I am thankful for the ability to see
things so very far away. 

I present Jupiter and her Galilean moons

 10:00 p.m.

11:00 p.m. and now you can see all four visible moons, aka the Galilean Moons: Io, Europa, Ganymede and Callisto. At midnight, the one closest to Jupiter will be even more visible.

Look up! Jupiter is just to the left of the moon!


Word for the Year


Quite a few people I know are choosing a word for the year, to help drive their goals or resolutions. I find it difficult to choose just one word! Hubby has already chosen his: HOPE!

I like that a lot, and was near choosing it, myself. But I didn't want to jump on his bandwagon word, just because. Since he has HOPE and I am his partner, I decided to choose my own so we could "cover more ground" with our dreams and goals this year. Now the three that I have narrowed down are: 


Surely their is not a thing wrong with having a trio of words now, is there? ;-)

I appreciate how these words encompass not only intentional, purposeful action, but deameanor, attitude, and emotion, as well.

What's your word for 2014?


Beautiful, Healthy Food


I am so grateful for beautiful, tasty vegetables! This is from tonight's dinner, before the big deep freeze comes our way.

These greens are from our garden, which is still alive during this roller-coaster warm/cold winter. It is a combination of collards and red chard.

This was Christmas dinner at our Daughter's home. The love of vegetables and eating seasonally rubbed off on most of our grown kids!

I hope your Christmas holidays and New Year have been restful and wonderful.


365 Grateful Day Two


I am thankful for piles of seeds given to me in my Christmas stocking!

Thank you, dear daughter, who knows me soooo well...



Happy New Year and a Brief Look Back at 2013


Happy New Year, all!

This past year (2013) was my least active time on the blog in my nine years of blogging. In some ways, that is a good thing, in that I needed to close chapters well with my family as they moved on to new events in their lives. DC #3 transferred out of state for university, and DC #4 (our baby) graduated from high school.

This year, I plan to do a 365 grateful project. I may not always post to the blog, but I will be creating a hard copy of my 365 grateful journal.

I am also exploring new ventures, now that our last child has reached adulthood and doesn't need us very much as he begins to carve out his own path.

So stay tuned!

Gratitude entry number one:

~ I am grateful for family and new friends who got to be with us for the holidays. All of us under our roof for this special Thanksgiving with Poppy, who is growing more frail each week. We decided to pose our own version of "Freedom from Want" by Norman Rockwell.

Blessings on your New Year!


Fall Garden and Prepping for Cooler Weather


My friend at Season of Harvest asked just a few days ago how the garden is going now, since I haven't posted any photos in about a month. Well, here is my update for her, and for any who stumble upon the Booksncoffeehouse in web-land. Fall garden in pictures:Two large branches of this bell pepper plant broke off in the wind earlier in the week, but the peppers were quite large enough to be useful! Big Jim New Mexico green chiles another bell pepper last carrot harvest of the season the last collard green plant, and it is HEALTHY! Next to it is another New Mexico green chile plant, this time "Barker" variety. (Very hot) Not too shabby for fall! See the hoses to the right? I have been unwinding and taking them out of the raised beds to store for winter. We are actually getting a decent amount of rain each week now, and I can safely put them away for the season. Jalapeños one of multiple kale seedlings!serrano pepper plant dozens of onions peppermint is making a comeback, just in time for hot chocolate and peppermint tea! Another view of the loaded New Mexico green chiles...loaded, loaded, loaded! purple basil and bell pepper Newer red chard planted in August, green chard behind that. Globe basil at the back older red chard from last year...just keeps on kicking! snow peasThe tomatoes are pretty much all finished producing. There are blossoms and about nine small tomatoes, however most of the plants are dried up. Normally, we still have them until the first freeze, but not this year. I don't think my plants were that strong to start with. The cool weather crops will stay through the winter, and I can just cover them with leaves during frosts, and add blankets if it it snows or if we have an ice storm. Though I love my garden, I love winter, too, so I won't complain about the growing season (especially for warm weather crops) minimizing production or drawing to a close.Any of my readers have things growing this fall? It doesn't matter how large or small. Tell me about it!Javamom[...]

Being Creative in the Middle


I shared a friend's blog posts yesterday to encourage others to be inspired! Her October series "In The Middle" have prompted me to change one of the last places to get real attention and re-arranging in our home; the room that I always put last on the "to do" list, for various reasons. Mainly because everyone else's rooms and the main living areas took precedence first, plus I was cooking a lot of family meals and kept very busy teaching these past twenty years here in the cottage. BUT before I write about the master bedroom and post photos, I have to back up a few months.Being in the "middle" years means the nest empties out, bit-by-bit. Ours began emptying about seven years ago. When our third child transferred from a local college to go to a state university this summer, I knew I had about two-to-three weeks to re-do his room, which needed repainting. I also needed to bring down a daybed (from the attic) to have ready for this same son, and other guests, before my part-time Spanish teaching schedule kicked in. Working on that project kept me from missing him too much. This is key to making it through another transition: Don't just "keep busy," but stay productive creating new spaces in each new stage of life.Dear son's kitty was not at all happy that he was moving.protesting at his feet and clothing bag ~This is what was left after we moved our son to the university and an apartment he is sharing with some of his old friends. The stack of books is new to the room, but everything else needed an upgrade. We were blessed to have leftover paint from other projects, so I didn't have to buy one thing. Not one thing for the transformation.I mixed peach, white, with a few spoons of blue paint to make this lovely, beigy-blush hueI even repainted our daughter's high school daybed and our son's old, small desk an espresso brown, to better co-ordinate and give a richness to the new room.I then "shopped" a storage area of our laundry room for some art to re-vamp and put on the walls. I painted the frames the same espresso color to go with the furniture and drapes that were left behind.And that, my friends, is how I spent the last couple of weeks of my summer vacation!Javamom[...]

In The Middle


I wanted to share a friend's blog with you all, then tell you that her timing could not have been more perfect to breathe new life into my creative bones. I'll post the last message from October, because it also includes a giveaway.

This is for those of us in the middle years ;-)...I love this gal...have known her for a long time but have only gotten to meet for coffee, great conversation, and sharing of hearts just once. You may want to go back and read all of her Oct. posts, though. She is a gifted writer and creates beautiful art. Be inspired!

A Season of Harvest

I'll be back to share the details of my new creative energies thanks to Sheila's prompting.

Thanks for reading,


Fall garden finally responding!


I tried planting last month, but it was still too hot and dry here to plant for the fall. Green chard, basil, other herbs, varieties of hot peppers, a couple of short rows of onions, and collard greens are still doing pretty well. Tomatoes are taking a break, but beginning to re-blossom once again. Beets and carrots are still growing from earlier in the summer. Only one red chard seed planted in late August managed to sprout and hang in there for me.

That means, nothing else came up and I had to try again about two weeks ago.

But after two good sets of rain and slightly cooler temps...finally, some success!

snow peas

kale (one spot of four)

Still waiting on new baby collards and sage to pop up. We shall see how it goes.

Happy Fall, Y'all!


Befores and After: restoration of a more modern hardback


This is how this book came to arrive in my bookbinding shop:

held together by duct tape

not even hanging together by a thread

with damage to the interior pages

The finished, restored book!


More examples of hand-bound books


One of my favorites: Exposed spine binding. Both decorative and practical!   This is an example of one of my students binding her own stories for a Christmas present for her grandparents: A more traditionally bound hardback of Blessing Letters for a graduation book. I have made many and many of these for different families. It also includes printed photos for some of the pages.This was a graduation gift for one of my Spanish class students a few years back, a blank, Coptic-stitch bound journal:Teaching younger ones to make simple journals: Watching them and their variety of choices is a delight!   Inspired, yet? I hope so! Javamom [...]